Piccolo's classical music

While you've likely hear a lot about the Spoleto festival proper's classical music offering, don't forget that Piccolo Spoleto has a lot to offer -- and it's usually pretty cheap or just plain free.

Get more coverage in our Spoleto special section. He's the rundown from a recent e-mail release:

Choral Artists Series

CHARLESTON SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY CONCERT SINGERS & SUMMERVILLE SINGERS St. Philip's Church, 142 Church St. May 30 at 1pm. Tickets: $10  
Choral Artists - CSU Concert Singers & Summerville SingersThe CSU Concert Singers and the Summerville Singers present another special "town and gown" program entitled How Sweet the Music featuring Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music with a chamber orchestra and Mack Wilberg's Three Scottish Folk Songs for chorus and four hand piano. Buy tickets. 

St. Philip's Church, 142 Church St.
June 6 at 1pm Tickets: $10  
Choral Artists - UMKC Collegium VocaleThe University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory Collegium Vocale specializes in the performance of Renaissance and Baroque choral music and is one of the most respected choral ensembles in the Midwest. This season's program includes two sections. The first focuses on highly sensual and dramatic choral music that depicts Biblical family drama. The second centers on texts reflecting on the transformation, hope and peace of Eastertide. Buy tickets. 

Cathedral Church of St. Luke & St. Paul, 126 Coming St.
June 6 at 3pm Tickets: $10
The Southern Appalachian Chamber Singers, conducted by Joel F. Reed, perform works from the major periods of choral music writing with emphasis on the folk hymns of the Southern Appalachian region. In this, their sixth appearance for Piccolo Spoleto audiences, The Chamber Singers will also include selections from the Gloria by Francis Poulenc. Buy tickets. 

Cathedral Church of St. Luke & St. Paul, 126 Coming St.
June 6 at 5pm.Tickets: $10
Choral Artists - Taylor Festival ChoirPerforms a program combining literature from their recent performance in the 50th Anniversary 2009 American Choral Directors Association National Convention and selections from their upcoming commercial recording This Evenfall 'tis Snowing. Consisting of 26 singers drawn from cities coast-to-coast, the Taylor Festival Choir is led by founder/conductor Robert Taylor. The Taylor Festival Choir is named for Bob Taylor (1936-1997), a legendary and revered figure in Arkansas choral music. They are part of the Taylor Music Group, and serve as the professional choir in-residence at the College of Charleston. Buy tickets. 

Festival Of Churches & Synagogues

Admission: Free (Donations gratefully accepted)

Holy Ascension Orthodox Church, 265 North Shellmore Blvd. May 30 at 11am
Festival of Churches - Orthodox Carolina Deanery Choir
A program of liturgical music and hymnography of the Orthodox Church will be sung in English and a cappella. The music includes systems of 8 tones, 4 part Russian harmonies and ancient Byzantine chant (which even predates Gregorian Chant). At the new Byzantine church in I'On.   

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, 405 King St.
May 30 at Noon
Festival of Churches - Decatur Presbyterian Church ChoirUnder the direction of Matthew McMahan, the Chancel Choir of Decatur Presbyterian Church is an auditioned ensemble devoted to the performance of the finest classical and contemporary literature through vibrant traditional worship services and concerts. This concert will include performances of Widor's Solemn Mass (Opus 36), as well as works by Duruflé, Chesnokov, Paulus and Aston. 

Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St. May 30 at 3pmCircular Congregational"An American Sampler:" Program of all-American music from early American hymns to Contemporary Spirituals. Composers and arrangers represented include: Leonard Bernstein, William Billings, Randall Thompson, Alice Parker, René Clausen, and Moses Hogan.

St. Philip's Episcopal Church, 142 Church St.
May 31 at 2pmThe Columbia Choral Society, under the direction of Dr.
William Carswell, is a volunteer professional chorus of over 80 auditioned singers from the Midlands of South Carolina. The performance at Piccolo Spoleto concludes the 78th season of the Choral Society. The concert begins with a tribute to Johannes Brahms featuring the stunning motet Lass Dich Nur Nichts Nicht Dauren (Let Nothing Ever Grieve Thee), "How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place" from the German Requiem, and the rarely performed Nänie. The second half of the concert features the music of American composers. The chorus will perform Sing Ye Praises to Our King, At the River and The Promise of Living by Aaron Copland. "Make Our Garden Grow" from Leonard Bernstein's opera Candide will be followed by The Testament of Freedom by Randall Thompson.

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, 405 King St. May 31 at 3pm
This program reflects the diversity of sacred music in the 20th and 21st centuries, comprising music of Britten and Mathias in the Anglican tradition, John Tavener the Orthodox tradition, the American master Randall Thompson and African- American spirituals arranged by the venerable William Dawson, presented by one of Atlanta's premiere church choirs.

First Baptist Church, 61 Church St. June 2 at 7pm. 
First BaptistCellist Louise Dubin and organist Stephen Distad will play a glorious program of spiritual and uplifting organ-cello works in the 1822 Sanctuary of First Baptist Church. Works by Brahms, Bach, Saint-Saëns, Bruch, Fauré, Frescobaldi-Cassado, and Thiriet. Also featuring a cameo appearance by pianist Andrew Armstrong. Louise's November recital here packed the pews, so don't be late! Admission by donation.

St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, 405 King St. June 7 at 3pmThe ensemble, Musica Sacra, of First Presbyterian Church, Knoxville, Tennessee, will present a program of music entitled Songs of Joy and Sorrow. The program will consist of works by Renaissance and Baroque composers and the modern minimalist composers, Arvo Pärt and John Tavener. The ensemble is directed by Mr. J. Ashley Burell.

Youth Music Festival

Admission: Free
St. Philip's Church, 142 Church St.
May 30 at 11am
This commended audition ensemble of Upper School students in ninth to twelfth grades is dedicated to the art of choral music and perform a variety of repertoire on campus and in the community. Ashley Hall is an all girls preparatory school in Charleston S.C. Robin Garner, director. 

Piccolo Spoleto Finale in Hampton Park June 6 at 4:15pm
The Daniel Island Taiko Drum Group is dedicated to spreading the Japanese Culture in a positive way throughout the Lowcountry. Their performance include traditional Japanese melodies, rhythms and choreographed movements. The third through seventh grade students have performed in various locations around the Lowcountry since 2007. Laura Wilcox, director.

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