Some traditions are meant to be broken.
That’s the thinking at the Fairfield County Chorale, which for many years has offered a “Summer Sings” every August as a way of getting singers together in the off-season when choral events are almost nonexistent.
But this year is different. No “Summer Sings.”
Instead, it’s “September Sings,” an informal community sing-along, set for Sunday, Sept. 7, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Fairfield’s Southport section. Mozart’s sublime Requiem is on the program. A reception will follow the event.
John Parkinson, FCC executive director, said last week that the “thinking now is that September might be a better time, closer to the opening” of the fall musical season, “when many singers could do with a bit of practice.”
The FCC includes scores of singers throughout southern Connecticut and beyond who also perform in other chorales and/or church choirs. At this event, everyone serves as a member of the chorale.
As such, “the audience is the choir at this event,” Parkinson said.
“In this event, Mozart’s Requiem will be rehearsed and then sung under the baton of David Rosenmeyer, the noted professional music director of the FCC.
“In addition to leading the singing, he will also offer interesting insights into the history of the composer and the work. This piece is not only very popular but also intriguing,” Parkinson added.
There’s another reason why Parkinson has slated the event with the Mozart program.
“We thought it would be a good idea for everyone to have a preview of our season,” he said.
The group’s 52nd season will close on May 9 with the Mozart Requiem.
Parkinson said he is hoping that non-FCC members who attend Sunday’s event will hear the familiar piece and be enticed to join the chorale in order to perform it in concert with an orchestra.
Sunday’s event “is open to accomplished singers, people who enjoy singing and anyone who might like to try. Absolutely no experience is necessary,” Parkinson said. “And anyone wishing to listen is also welcome. It would be an opportunity for anyone considering joining the chorale to get a firsthand look at how we operate. The music is performed in a relaxed, informal environment against the backdrop of a late summer evening.
“Mozart’s unfinished Requiem (a mass for the dead) has long been shrouded in mystery,” Parkinson added. “Mozart undertook the commission for an Austrian nobleman. The secrecy surrounding the anonymous commission, the circumstances of Mozart’s death, the unfinished state of the work and its completion (by another) in 1792 have precipitated two centuries of speculation.”
The piece “opens with Introitus, which combines Mozart’s hopelessness and passion, and concludes with Lacrimosa, a movement characterized by haunting strings and vocal lines that ends in a dazzling crescendo ‘Amen,’ ” Parkinson wrote in his notes on the piece.
“Throughout this distinctive work, containing the last notes Mozart ever wrote, is an unusual mix that is part church style, part Masonic funeral music and part opera. Here we get a glimpse of a great musical genius in his last tortured days, a man convinced he was writing the Requiem for his own death. And so he was.”