The University Chorale, Oklahoma Baptist University’s premiere mixed chorus, will present a three-concert tour of Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo,” including two local performances and concluding with a final performance on the historic stage of Carnegie Hall in New York City Saturday, April 28, at 6 p.m.
Before traveling to New York, the ensemble will join with vocalists from Southern Nazarene University Chorale, Moore High School Choir and the Madrigal Choir from Oklahoma City’s Classen School of Advanced Studies for two special performances of more than 150 voices. The first concert will be held at the First Church of the Nazarene at 4400 Northwest Expressway in Oklahoma City Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m. The second performance will take place in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium Sunday, April 22, at 3 p.m. The vocalists will be accompanied by an orchestra comprised of professionals, faculty and students. Both concerts are free and open to the public.
Rebecca Ballinger, soprano and assistant professor of voice at OBU, and Rebekah Ambrosini, alto and professor of voice at Southern Nazarene University, are the soloists for both of the local performances.
On April 26, 24 members of the University Chorale will travel to NYC to perform with a combined group of more than 100 vocalists at Carnegie Hall. Once there, they will be joined by a children’s choir, the from the Los Angeles area and will be accompanied by the New England Symphonic Ensemble.
Dr. D. Brent Ballweg, Burton H. Patterson Professor of Music and director of choral activities at OBU, will conduct the three performances of “Jubilate Deo.” In 2008, while working at Southern Nazarene University, Ballweg traveled to NYC with another group of students where he made his Carnegie Hall conducting debut with MidAmerica Productions, an organization that produces classical concerts in venues all over the world.
In early 2017, Ballweg attended a national conference of the American Choral Directors association, where he met with representatives from MidAmerica Productions. Having conducted for them before on the Carnegie Hall trip at SNU, they asked him to return to Carnegie Hall and conduct once again. After speaking with his colleague and successor at SNU, Dr. Jim Graves, the pair decided to work together in developing the performance and the trip.
Ballweg soon settled on “Jubilate Deo” as the work they would take to the Carnegie Hall stage.
“Dan Forrest has become one of the biggest names in choral music over the last five to seven years,” Ballweg said. “He does fantastic work and I’ve done a number of his pieces with the Chorale before. This work, ‘Jubilate Deo,’ is only two years old now. I had heard some early renditions of it, and knowing him and his work, that caused me to pick it.”
“Jubilate Deo” is a seven-movement work containing seven distinct languages. The work is based on Psalm 100 and contains all five verses from the Bible passage. Ballweg is excited to be performing such a stirring piece of music.
“We proclaim God’s greatness in Latin, Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese Mandarin, Zulu, Spanish and two phrases of English,” he said. “That’s the entire idea, that all of the earth will rejoice in the Lord.”