Originally created 05/16/03

Chorus picks challenging program



After a season tackling Handel, Haydn and Verdi, the Augusta Choral Society has decided it's ready for a challenge.

For its season finale Saturday at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, the group offers what it considers the greatest choruses in the world.

The result is a program that shifts and slides from one style to another, with selections by Wagner, Bach and Brahms segueing into traditional folk tunes such as Danny Boy and Shenandoah. Porter Stokes, the society's artistic director, said that while the pieces are shorter than the concert-length selections the group usually performs, the program actually represents a greater challenge.

"The most difficult thing for me and them is going to be shifting stylistically from one piece to another," he said. "There are some pieces that require a lot of athleticism and then, in the next piece, we may be called upon to do something that takes a much more delicate touch."

Mr. Stokes admitted a program of "greatest" choruses takes a certain audacity.

"The whole title can be debatable," he said. "It's not the kind of thing anybody is ever going to agree on. That's why we're calling this The Greatest Choruses in the World, Part One."

Mr. Stokes said the theory is that Part Two might include any pieces that fell through the cracks or that the Choral Society couldn't quite pull together in time.

"We had several pieces in the initial selection that we were not able to do," he said. "For instance, we wanted to do Barber's Adagio for Strings, but we just couldn't pull it together. The nice thing about this is it is a theme you can go back to time and time again and never, ever repeat yourself."

ON STAGEWHAT: The Greatest Choruses in the World, Part One, presented by the Augusta Choral SocietyWHEN: 8 p.m. SaturdayWHERE: Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St. ADMISSION: $18 adults, $15 students and seniors. Call 826-4713.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com