contributed by Laurie Johnson
Paramount Center for the Arts
Thirty-three Sartell students are among more than 100 high school singers and 20 orchestra players from 27 cities and 23 schools who will premier Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21 and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 23 at the Paramount Center for the Arts in downtown St. Cloud.
The choral work is performed by the Youth Chorale of Central Minnesota. Spencer Lathe, the boy soprano soloist, also lives in Sartell and is the son of Garrett Lathe, founder of the Youth Chorale, and Holly Lathe, a music teacher for the Sartell-St. Stephen School District.
All have been rehearsing every week most of the year in preparation for this concert, and a lengthy list of other appearances as well. The most recent appearance was last month at Orchestra Hall during the American Choral Directors Association’s national convention in Minneapolis. These Sartell students sang in front of thousands of people at prestigious Orchestra Hall.
Laurie Johnson, director of performing arts at the Paramount and the initiator of the Requiem project, created this event more than two years ago. It’s taken 20 months to make this a reality for these high school students.
“The work itself is very accessible for high school and church choirs to do,” Johnson said. “We are hoping choir directors and choir members from around the area will support the tremendous efforts and dedication of these 100-plus high-school students and attend one of the performances. The work is very much in the romantic tradition, with lush harmonies throughout. There are hundreds of requiems written to honor the memories of the dead. This is the only one written specifically to honor the struggle of those left living.”
Published in mid-2013, Requiem for the Living offers an inspiring perspective and reflective journey on life, love, loss and renewal. A requiem, at its core, is a prayer for rest – traditionally, for the deceased. The five movements of Forrest’s Requiem for the Living, however, form a narrative for the living and their own struggle with pain and sorrow when dealing with the loss of a loved one .
“Overall, the work is a prayer for rest (‘requiem’) for the living, not for the deceased,” according to the composer’s website. “The plea of this requiem is to ‘grant us rest, O Lord,’ not ‘grant them rest.'”
Sartell members of the Youth Chorale of Minnesota are as follows: Garrett Lathe, conductor; Spencer Lathe, soloist; Chris Baugh; Peyton Braun; Alyssa Brennhofer; Emily Callan; Laura Carlson; Hannah Congdon; Riley Dalby; Erika Evers; Madison Franzmeier; Evan Gertken; Grace Jorud; Hannah Kosloski; Elijah Lawson; Anna Lehto; Nolan Lund; Krista Maruska; Jacquelyn Middendorf; Sierra Moore; Taelor Nebel; Kale Nelson; Jaden Nguyen; Rachel Otremba; Stephanie Otremba; Caleb Otteson; Sarah Reiger; Mack Sathre; Tom Schultz; Aidan Speckhard; Gillian Spencer; Chloe Spoden; Nathan Stoebe; Max Svensson and Abby Veitch.
For tickets, visit paramountarts. org, or call the box office at 320-259-5463.