I heard Voices of Ascension in a concert of “Baroque Favorites” on April 26, 2021 (it had been streamed on April 14). It was mostly video of previous performances with a couple new things thrown in to make it feel more fresh and special. They opened with a performance of Monteverdi’s “Beatus Vir,” done with six vocal soloists and a handful of instruments. Everyone sang and played with a delicious, juicy sense of the style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chorus sang an a cappella piece by Henry Purcell, “Thou Knowest, Lord.” Gorgeous, radiant, very high English.

 

Next, one of the newly recorded pieces, the “Domine Deus” from the Vivaldi *Gloria.* I could tell is was new because everyone but the oboist were wearing masks! The ensemble was soprano Nola Richardson, oboist Diane Lesser, cellist Daire FitzGerald, and artistic director Dennis Keene at the organ. I know the Vivaldi *Gloria* is a piece that’s done by every high school choir on earth, but I’ve never sung it and don't really know it. What a delightful aria, beautifully performed.

 

Another new performance, baritone Justin Austin singing “Ombra mai fu” from Handel’s *Serse.* I know I’m splitting hairs and we should feel free to do whatever we want with music by dead white dudes, but this aria was written for a mezzo voice. Austin sounded glorious, I especially liked how his voice opened up at the top, but it sounded not quite right.

 

Another Handel aria, “Waft Her, Angels, to the Skies” from *Jephthe,* sung by tenor Brian Giebler with Adam Cockerham on archlute. Giebler had a lovely voice, it was particularly wonderful hearing it move out into the church. This was a highlight of the concert. Here's Giebler singing "Comfort Ye" from *Messiah*:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The chorus sang an a cappella piece by Henry Purcell, “Thou Knowest, Lord.” Gorgeous, radiant, very high English.

 

Next, one of the newly recorded pieces, the “Domine Deus” from the Vivaldi *Gloria.* I could tell is was new because everyone but the oboist were wearing masks! The ensemble was soprano Nola Richardson, oboist Diane Lesser, cellist Daire FitzGerald, and artistic director Dennis Keene at the organ. I know the Vivaldi *Gloria* is a piece that’s done by every high school choir on earth, but I’ve never sung it and don't really know it. What a delightful aria, beautifully performed.

 

Another new performance, baritone Justin Austin singing “Ombra mai fu” from Handel’s *Serse.* I know I’m splitting hairs and we should feel free to do whatever we want with music by dead white dudes, but this aria was written for a mezzo voice. Austin sounded glorious, I especially liked how his voice opened up at the top, but it sounded not quite right.

 

Another Handel aria, “Waft Her, Angels, to the Skies” from *Jephthe,* sung by tenor Brian Giebler with Adam Cockerham on archlute. Giebler had a lovely voice, it was particularly wonderful hearing it move out into the church. This was a highlight of the concert. Here's Giebler singing "Comfort Ye" from *Messiah*: