Oratorio Choir Sings Britten, Vaughan Williams at Tower Hill Church

March 15, 2013
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RED BANK – Choral works by two renowned 20th century British composers will be featured in a concert by the Oratorio Choir at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at the First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank, 255 Harding Road.

The choir, which this year includes singers from more than 20 Central New Jersey churches and community choruses, will present Re­joice in the Lamb, by Ben­jamin Britten and Dona Nobis Pacem, by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

The concert will be conducted by Lauren Peithmann, music director of the Presbyterian Church at Shrewsbury. The organist will be Adam Peithmann, director of music ministries at the First Presbyterian Church.

Lauren Peithmann is the conductor of the 2013 Oratorio Choir.

Lauren Peithmann is the
conductor of the 2013 Oratorio Choir.

The Britten work, commissioned in 1943, is a cantata for choir and soloists with organ accompaniment. Rejoice in the Lamb is based on the poem Jubilate Agno by Christopher Smart, an 18th century poet who wrote the text while interned in an asylum. The exuberant poem is brought to life by Britten in rollicking rhythmic sections contrasted with quiet moments of reflection and peace.

A string ensemble will accompany Vaughan Williams’ cantata Dona Nobis Pacem (Give Us Peace), which was written in 1936 with World War II on the horizon. For the text of the cantata the composer chose passages from Walt Whitman, the Bible, the traditional Mass and a political speech. The cantata petitions God to bring peace to a war-torn world.

Lauren Peithmann began her choral career at Ithaca College, where she studied conducting with Janet Galvan. After teaching in public schools, she was appointed assistant conductor of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City. She earned her master’s degree at Yale University, serving as assistant conductor and a soloist for the Yale Glee Club in the 2008-09 season. She has studied conducting with Francisco Nunez, Marguerite Brooks and Simon Carrington. Prior to her work in Shrewsbury, she taught choral music at Hunter College High School in New York City.

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Adam Peithmann is in charge of a music program that includes two traditional worship services and a contemporary service; an adult choir; graded children’s choirs; four choirs of English handbells; and the Tower Hill Concert series. He earned a bachelor of music degree in organ performance from Eastman School of Music, Rochester, N.Y., and a master of music in organ performance from the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. He earned a Fulbright Grant for organ study in Germany in 2007-08, and has received numerous awards for organ performance.

The concert is an event of the Tower Hill Concert Series. It is presented free of charge.

A voluntary offering for this concert will benefit the church’s mission programs, including storm recovery assistance.

The church is handicapped-accessible

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