Weale, 77, is retiring after 27 years at the helm of the chorus. He is the longest-serving director since founder
"I'm very happy to have been active this long," said Weale, who retired from the
He has worked two jobs since then, as the choral society music director and as the organist and choirmaster of
At the end of this month, Weale will move to
"I'm ready for the next thing, whatever it may be," he said. "It was clear that I needed to move. But my heart is still with the chorus and always will be."
Although he knew that it was going to be his last concert when he started planning the spring program last year, Weale wanted to keep the focus strictly on the choral society and its 80th anniversary. The group of approximately 120 singers will still be accompanied by a professional orchestra, but soloists are being used on only one of the four works.
"My basic plan was to honor and glorify the chorus," he said. "I wanted the spotlight to be on the chorus, not on soloists. I really wanted this to be about our singers who are there all of the time."
This weekend's performances at
"It's a big, sweeping, thrilling kind of piece," Weale said. "It's ceremonial music."
The first half of the concert will also include "Frostiana," a group of seven pieces by American composer
"They're very beautiful and very meaningful," Weale said. "It's a Yankee kind of sensibility about it. It's a little wry, and I happen to like the music a lot, and so does the chorus."
Weale also likes "Frostiana" because it has two pieces just for men and two just for women, with the remaining three for the full chorus.
The second half of the concert will open on a more somber note with "Dona Nobis Pacem" by
"At the end of it, there is a kind of rousing chorus about peace on Earth and goodwill toward men," Weale said. "In a sense, it's a message piece, but it's also a beautiful piece."
"Dona Nobis Pacem" features two professional soloists, including
Salters has performed with the chorus a few times over the years, and Weale reached out to him to see if he would return for this particular concert.
"We gave him his first job, and now he's an internationally known baritone," Weale said. "While he was still a student (at
An Australian-American soprano, Lamp has been a regular at the chorus's last four or five performances, Weale said.
"She is really a favorite of mine and the chorus's and the audience's," he said.
Not wanting to end the concert on a quiet note, Weale selected
"I didn't think that the 80th celebration should go kind of whimpering off," he said. "It definitely raises the roof."
If you go
When: Saturday at
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