Club member post by Annette Johnsrud

Commissioned works from the perspective of a performer.

First a short introduction may be in order for some of you. I do not work in a musical arena, but I have a Bachelor of Science in Music. My volunteer work with the Friends and the GBSO over the last seven years has enriched me with a whole new community of friends, experiences and opportunities for musical growth and expression that I would not have thought possible before. One of those new opportunities has come in the form of the Commission Club last year—I am in my second year as a member.

I also am an alto in the Dudley Birder Chorale (hereafter referred to as “the Chorale”), and am therefore in the midst of another one of those new opportunities—not only do I get to sing Beethoven’s Symphony Number 9 (a personal first for me) as part of the April 12th concert experience, but I also get to be part of the World Premiere of the commissioned work of Music Alive Composer in Residence, Daniel Kellogg!

I have periodically tended to take my singing experiences for granted over the years. Mozart? Bach? Handel? Brahms? Been there—done that. Vivaldi? Fauré? Bernstein? Yeah, sure, done that too. Orff’s Carmina Burana? Well, I’ve heard that, so I have a starting point for the learning curve.

But preparing for the upcoming GBSO concert is different. Daniel Kellogg’s La Luz is something new that no one has ever sung before! The Chorale has now been rehearsing La Luz for about six weeks. How exciting to be part of a World Premiere event, to be among the first to learn a piece of music! The interpretation of the composition will not be influenced by the interpretation of a previous performing group; the full impact of the orchestration will not be heard until the rehearsals days before the concert. The GBSO has been through this discovery process before with previous commissioned works. In fact, the Chorale has as well, just this past fall, with a choral work that was commissioned for Dudley Birder’s 80th birthday. The prospect of being a part of a new composition’s debut I find to be invigorating, reminding me that all of those works I have sung before was also once a premiere.

I plan on writing a follow up blog soon, maybe even take a shot at describing the music. In the interim, I will be rehearsing with a fresh outlook on the privilege of this experience.

Annette Johnsrud
Member of Commission Club, Friends of the Green Bay Symphony and The Dudley Birder Chorale

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