After a three-day residency with the award-winning Rose Ensemble, Bellaire High School’s Concert Chorale joined them in concert to open the Houston Early Music season on Sunday, Oct. 24, at St. Philip Presbyterian Church. The program was entitled “Land of Three Faiths: Voices of Ancient Mediterranean Jews, Christians, and Muslims.”
“We were particularly struck by the students’ engagement throughout the activities,” said Rose Ensemble Artistic Director Jordan Sramek. “We left wondering whether more intensive activities such as a residency couldn’t produce something truly magical.”
“This was a truly unique opportunity for our choir to collaborate with a nationally known group,” said Principal Michael McDonough. “Our kids grew so much from the experience.”
A small but similar event that took place during the Rose Ensemble’s last visit led to Houston led to this year’s more extensive collaboration. In December 2013, the ensemble came to Houston as part of their regular tour. The morning of the concert, they gave a demonstration to some of the varsity students and were so impressed by their insightful comments that they expressed interest in returning for a residency. Due to the generosity of Bellaire’s PTO, they were was able to spend three days with the students.
The Rose Ensemble was founded in 1996 by Sramek and has achieved an international reputation as a premiere American Early Music ensemble. Each performance brings to life centuries of rarely heard compositions spanning 1,000 years and more than 25 languages. With 10 critically acclaimed recordings, the group has performed widely in the U.S. and Europe.
“If all 16 to 18-year-olds were like that, the world would run out of problems pretty fast,” tweeted one Rose Ensemble member about the collaboration.
The Bellaire Concert Chorale has 71 male and female students.