posted March 18, 2011

Great Performance Series to Feature The Rose Ensemble on March 31

The Great Performance Series at Hope College will feature the vocal group The Rose Ensemble presenting "Voices of Ancient Mediterranean Jews, Christians & Muslims" on Thursday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.

"Few people will forget The Rose Ensemble's gripping and emotional interpretations," reviewed "Goldberg Magazine" of Spain after a recent performance.

Based in Saint Paul, Minn., and founded in 1996 by Jordan Sramek, the group's artistic director, The Rose Ensemble creates performances of vocal music, connecting each individual to past worlds with stories of spirituality and humanity.

Each presentation brings research from the world's manuscript libraries to new audiences, brining forth centuries of rarely performed repertoire. The ensemble has been called "first class" by the "Neuss-Grevenbroicher Zeitung," "Engaging... satisfying" by "Gramophone," and "flawlessly performed and smoothly structured" by the "Cleveland Plain Dealer."

The program that the ensemble is performing at Hope, "Voices of Ancient Mediterranean Jews, Christians & Muslims," spans both faiths and generations.  Centuries of dedication and folklore in the chapels, synagogues and courts of early Italy, Spain and Portugal produced music with rhythms that reverberated across the Mediterranean. In this program spanning four centuries of vocal and instrumental music, a diverse collection of Arab-Andalusian dances, Sephardic laments, Spanish "villancicos," Hebrew chants and Galician spiritual "cantigas" come together in a fascinating exploration of language, culture and faith from a time that is not so different from the present.

"To hear the beauty of these single-line melodies is to experience an otherworldly beauty that reaches back nearly a thousand years," said "The St. Paul Pioneer Press."

The Rose Ensemble received the 2005 Chorus America Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, and first place in the sacred music category at the 2007 Tolosa International Choral Competition in Spain.

With seven critically acclaimed recordings and a diverse selection of concert programs, the group has performed for audiences across the U.S. and Europe with repertoire spanning 1,000 years and more than 25 languages, including new research in Hawaiian, Swedish, Mexican and American vocal traditions.

The Rose Ensemble will launch two more European tours this summer, with appearances in northern Italy in June, and an extensive performance schedule in France during July and August.

Individual tickets are $18 for regular admission, $13 for senior citizens, and $6 for children 18 and under, and are available at the ticket office in the main lobby of the DeVos Fieldhouse. The ticket office is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and may be called at (616) 395-7890.

Additional information about the Rose Ensemble may be obtained online by visiting www.hope.edu/gps.

The DeVos Fieldhouse is located at 222 Fairbanks Ave., between Ninth and 11th streets.  Dimnent Memorial Chapel is located at 277 College Ave., on College Avenue at 12th Street.