The Williamsport Chamber Choir and Orchestra — an audible treat

The Williamsport Chamber Choir and Orchestra will perform its take on the “Three Bs” at their second concert of the 2013-14 WCCO season. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. April 4 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 142 N. Market St.

A phrase referring to “Bach, Beethoven and Brahms,” the WCCO will replace one of the “Bs” – Beethoven – and perform “Bach, Brahms and the Brits.”

Bach and Brahms of course referring to Johann Sebastian Bach and Johannes Brahms, legendary 18th- and 19th-century German musical composers.

“The Brits” serves as a reference to the nationality of 18th-century writer Christopher Smart, and 20th-century composer Benjamin Britten. Britten composed the music for “Rejoice in the Lamb,” which the choir will perform, while Smart wrote the prose.

“We will be performing Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata 150, ‘Nach dir, Herr verlanget mich.’ A unique cantata of Bach’s, which has four choruses rather than the traditional two choruses, accompanied by two violins, a cello and a bassoon,” said Kent Weaver, artistic director and conductor of the WCCO.

“The choir will then perform four vocal quartets by Johannes Brahms, ‘Der Gang Zum Liebchen,’ ‘Der Abend,’ ‘O Schone Nacht’ and ‘Sehnsucht.’ WCCO will conclude their performance with two English folk songs by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams,” he said.

The WCCO has a mere 10 rehearsals to prepare for a concert.

“Within those rehearsals we not only prepare the notes and rhythms but we also must create a flexible ensemble that can sing in many different styles and with many different performance practices appropriate to that composition,” Weaver said.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in music from Westminster Choir College and a master’s degree in conducting from Ohio State University, Weaver has extensive professional vocal and conducting experience, having held roles in numerous festivals and conventions. According to his bio, Weaver and members of the WAHS choirs also have had the distinction of having performed at the White House.

Clearly, Weaver is a master of choral art, and projects that onto the group that he conducts.

“WCCO consists of gifted, dedicated and talented musicians who come together to perform choral literature at a high level and to advance the choral art,” he said.

But not without help from what Weaver said is “a unique area where the arts thrive,” referring to the Williamsport area and the Susquehanna Valley.

Rick Coulter, WASD curriculum supervisor and member of the board of the WCCO, agrees.

“Too often, we as a community take for granted the many opportunities we have to experience and enjoy high quality performances. There is something very special about our valley that all of the arts, music, dance, theater, visual arts and digital media flourish throughout the region,” Coulter said.

“It is part of my responsibility to actively participate to keep that tradition alive and growing in Williamsport,” he said.

Keeping it simple, however, Weaver just wants to give audience members an audible treat.

“The audience will be treated to an evening of 30 musicians, many with professional experience, bringing together their vocal and instrumental talents for an enjoyable evening of some of the masterworks of choral music,” he said.

Visit williamsportchamberchoirandorches to learn more about the group.

Tickets will be sold at the door and at Robert M. Sides Family Music Center, 201 Mulberry St.