Ames Chamber Artists perform 26th annual Masterworks concert


Photo of the Ames Chamber Artists, courtesy of Ames Chamber Artists

Cj Eilers

The Ames Chamber Artists will be performing their 26th annual Masterworks concert at 3 p.m. on  April 6 in the Collegiate United Methodist Church.

Under the direction of ISU choral director Jim Rodde, the 40 member group, accompanied by a small orchestra and organ, will start by performing several choir pieces by composers such as Eric Barnum, Eric Whitacre and Carly Simon.

The choir will then be joined by the Des Moines Choral Society, becoming 90 voices strong, to perform “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure. The piece, a standard in choral music, was composed by Faure in honor of his father’s death. The later death of his mother motivated him to finish the piece, which would be first performed during Faure’s own funeral.

“It’s a sublime and surreal piece,” Rodde said. “The words are beautiful. The composer believed the passage into death should be a beautiful thing.”

Rodde started conducting the choir in the summer of 2006, several years after joining the music department at Iowa State. Citizens from Ames, Gilbert and Boone, coming from different professions and backgrounds, all participate in the choir to continue singing.

“This is an outlet for them,” Rodde said. “They are having fun with it, but are also quite serious about it. They are very talented singers.”

Louis Banitt is one of the founding members of the Ames Chamber Artists, starting the choir in 1988 with half as many members as today. Banitt explains that dedication and love of choral music has kept them going for so long.

“We’ve had good directors in the past and today,” Banitt said. “We also have a dedicated group of singers that stay with us for a long time, and an audience that sticks with us as well.”

Since its founding, the choir has performed two annual concerts, one in December and the Masterworks concert in the spring. Rodde chooses the material for the concerts and conducts the choir.

“I’m really looking forward to singing ‘Requiem,’” Banitt said. “I haven’t done that piece in a long time.”

Tickets are available in advance at Rieman Music, Evert’s Flowers and Gifts, or from members of the choir. Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $9 for students and seniors, and children under 12 are admitted for free. There will also be tickets available at the door for $15.