The Bay Choral Guild's spring concert, "Pacific Passions II" features an array of contemporary choral music from West Coast-based composers. The program, which takes place June 2-4 at venues around the Bay Area, actually has its roots in a program that the Guild performed in 2011, hence the "II" on the current program's title.
"There's composers from Seattle, from the San Francisco Bay Area and from the Los Angeles area. The title brings all of them in. We decided to repeat this theme for a concert because we had so much fun the first time," Bay Choral Guild Artistic Director Sanford Dole said in an interview.
The program features Morten Lauridsen’s "Ubi Caritas et Amor," Kevin Memley’s "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," Dale Trumbore’s "Threads of Joy," David Conte’s "Ave Maria," and Dole’s "Glory to God for All Things," plus works by up-and-coming composers Saunder Choi, Reena Esmail, Amy Gordon, John Muehleisen, Zanaida Robles, Karen P. Thomas and Eric Tuan.
The works offer some exciting and unique choral music for listeners. With performances of contemporary works, Dole said, "the harmonies can be a little bit denser than more traditional styles and rhythms can be a little bit trickier."
For instance, Esmail's piece, he noted, draws inspiration from a North Indian "tarana" in which singers display their vocal dexterity with series of syllables sung lightning-fast.
"I hope that people really appreciate how beautiful this music is and develop the same kind of passion for contemporary music that I have. One of my favorite things to do is to discover pieces that I think are worthy and present them for audiences — introduce you to composers you've never heard of before. So in the future, when you hear their names, you'll recognize it. 'Oh, yes, I remember hearing a piece by that composer, and it was really great and I'm looking forward to more,'" Dole said.
Pacific Passions takes place June 2, 8 p.m. at Campbell United Methodist Church, 1675 Winchester Blvd., Campbell; June 3, 8 p.m. at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 1111 O'Farrell St., San Francisco; June 4, 4:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 1985 Louis Road, Palo Alto. Tickets are $10-$30. baychoralguild.org.