Quadrivium may be young in years, but it’s making good on its promise of high-quality musical performances, education and outreach.
Organized in 2016 for the joy of singing and to present infrequently performed vocal repertoire, the group has concertized throughout the Southwest and sings a cappella. All members have professional careers and teach at the university level. A core trio of singers are affiliated with Fort Lewis College and include mezzo soprano Kerry Ginger, tenor Erik Gustafson and soprano Charissa Chiaravalloti. Depending on the program, the core trio invites other singers, and Denver-based baritone David Farwig will join the ensemble for the next winter concert.
At 3 p.m. Jan. 14, Quadrivium will present its second concert of this year’s season. Titled “Uncommon Folk,” the recital fulfills the promise of the season’s guiding theme: Sacred and Profane.
Last October, Quadrivium presented the first of the two-part season and titled the concert “Hosanna!”
The singers invited bass Toby Vaughn Kidd to join them in a variety of sacred works from the majestically solemn to the joyously celebratory. William Byrd’s “Mass for Five Voices” called for an additional voice, so local professional tenor Andreas Tischhauser made it a party of five.
For Samuel Barber’s melodically rich “Easter Chorale,” the quintet turned into a sextet. The ensemble was joined by none other than Thomas Heuser, conductor of the San Juan Symphony. One could say, Heuser made his Durango debut as a singer at the fall Quadrivium concert.
To fulfill the Quadrivium goal of education and outreach, the ensemble offered a weekend workshop to area church choir singers. Thirty-six participants came from six area churches, took a group singing lesson to start then separated into sectionals. The workshop culminated in a mass choir singing Ola Gjeilo’s “The Ground,” an interfaith hymn. Heuser polished the work at the Saturday rehearsal, and the workshop singers joined Quadrivium at the end of Sunday’s recital to close the weekend.
While not as elaborate as the weekend workshop choir, the winter Quadrivium offering has three parts. Guest baritone, Farwig, director of the Alpine Chorale in Denver, will offer a master class at 1 p.m. Thursday to voice majors at FLC. The 75-minute class is free and open to the public. Singers from the interfaith workshop are particularly invited, but anyone who loves music will find a master class both entertaining and enlightening.
At noon Jan. 12, Ginger will give a pre-concert talk and Quadrivium will present a mini version of Sunday’s full concert at the Durango/La Plata Senior Center, 2424 Main Ave.
January 14 is the formal winter concert, “Uncommon Folk.”
“We want to explore the richness of the human experience through folk-inspired music,” Ginger said. So, the program includes arrangements of American folk songs as well as French, Slovakian, German and other traditions. “Inspired by” is the key phrase as the singers will perform Paul Ben-Haim’s “Sephardic Folk Songs,” Jody Rockmaker’s “Yiddish Choruses” and the beautiful “Liebeslieder Waltzes” by Brahms.
Supported by the FLC Artist in Residence Committee, the concert is one of many special events organized to enrich the musical life of the students and the community.
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theater Critics Association.