The Southern Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra will present composer Carl Orff’s epic cantata “Carmina Burana” at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at Central Christian Center, 410 S. Virginia Ave.
The performance is a joint effort between Southern Symphonic Chorus – which is comprised of both the MSSU Concert Chorale and volunteer singers (a mixture of choral music professionals and non-professional aficionados) from the Joplin community – and the orchestra, which is made up of Missouri Southern students, faculty and professionals from the community. They’ll be joined by Kansas City-area soloists Sarah Tannehill Anderson, soprano; David Adams, tenor; and Robert McNichols, baritone.
Even if the name of the piece doesn’t immediately ring a bell, the first movement – “O Fortuna” – has made its mark on popular culture over the years. Think King Arthur and his knights doing battle in “Excalibur,” or any number of movies, trailers and TV shows – from “The General’s Daughter” and “Jackass: The Movie” to “Glee” and “The Simpsons.”
“Most everyone knows the first movement,” said Dr. David L. Sharlow, who will conduct the performance. “It’s exciting, visceral and passionate.”
The MSSU Concert Chorale has 63 members, and the Community Chorus has more than 40. They have been rehearsing separately under Sharlow’s direction but will begin rehearsing together in the week before the performance.
“Together, we call it the Southern Symphonic Chorus and Orchestra,” said Sharlow. “The music itself (in regards to notes) is not that difficult, although there are a lot of changes in rhythm and meter that are demanding on the percussionists, orchestra and soloists.”
The most challenging aspect, he said, are the words. The work is a mix of medieval German Latin, and middle-high German and French, with medieval pronunciation.
The program will open with a performance by the Chamber Singers. It will be followed by the hour-long presentation of “Carmina Burana.”
Admission is free and open to the public.