"Do you hear the people sing? Singing the songs of angry men..."
These lyrics from the smash Broadway hit "Les Miserables" will be sung as part of a free concert filled with songs about overcoming adversity at the Encinitas Library, 540 Cornish Drive, on May 26 at 7 p.m. and May 27 at 4 p.m.
The Roger Anderson Chorale will perform "Peace and Truth in Our Time" as the group's final free performance for its 2018 season.
Roger Anderson — the choir's director, who has conducted at Carnegie Hall in New York City — recently previewed the upcoming shows in an interview.
For more information, visit www.rogerandersonchorale.com.
Can you give us a sneak preview of what we can expect at the concert?
It's a conglomeration of things. There are going to be some pieces that are interpreted in dance and an all-around theme called "Peace and Truth in Our Time." It's basically a very eclectic mix of different kinds of repertoire from opera to new chorale music to showtunes.
Why should people attend these concerts in Encinitas?
There are many aspects to the chorale literature that we're performing that speak to the idea of the little guy overcoming adversity. I know the shows are over Memorial Day weekend, and we're doing a piece called 'Who Are the Brave,' and it has to do with people who go off to war and fight for us. It's a very poignant piece. We're also doing a medley of 'Les Miserables,' which is about the little guy being oppressed. There are also great pieces like 'How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place' by Brahms, which is sort of a look at heaven as a home after death. There's also an innocent kind of piece called 'Only in Sleep,' which is about a woman who is reminiscing on her childhood. There are all sorts of different connotations there and genres to hit everybody's emotional needs at once, especially on a Memorial Day weekend.
What can you tell us about the Roger Anderson Chorale?
It's a concept that I had that uses some of the traditional aspects of choral music where the choir sings, but my goal is to have it a little more in depth than that. Eventually, I'd like to have the choir be more of a conduit for a higher personal connection and my goal is to have the choir kind of envelop the audience to give that sort of sense of being surrounded by the sound. The reason I have that concept is because when I sang with the Westminster Choir in New York, the choir was very large, about 200 voices. I got this great sense of being truly immersed in the sound, and I don't think the audience really gets that sense.
What can you tell us about your experience with music?
My mom was an opera singer, so she sang around the house all the time. I was taken to many performances, and the most connected aspect for me was the voice, so I pursued getting a degree at Westminster Choir College. At first, I wanted to be a symphony orchestra conductor, but I also realized the power of choral music for the connection with the human voice. I really dedicated my life to that. It's all something that's ingrained in me.
What do you think it is about choral music that draws you in and that makes it so entertaining for everyone involved?
For me, and for the audience, my goal is to not make it just entertainment. My goal is to make it very therapeutic where you're reconnecting people's sense of being through the voice. Choral music expresses that in a way that can't be expressed through any other language. Every time there's a disaster or some horrible thing that happens in your life, what do people do? They sing and find it in part of their nature to express their grief within singing. That transcends all cultures. Neurologically, there's this idea that there are gateways in the brain. One of those gateways is, when you are engaged in a musical experience, whether it's listening or performing, you can't feel pain.