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Sheboygan County Masterworks, a new choral-orchestral collaboration of some of the county's top music ensembles, will give its debut concert at the end of February.

Led by Daniel David Black, Lakeland College assistant professor of music and the college's director of choral activities, a concert featuring approximately 125 local voices will perform on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at St. John's UCC, 1248 Lincoln Ave, Sheboygan.

General admission tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at Lakeland.edu/masterworks.

The Lakeland Choir is partnering with the Lakeshore Chorale, the Lakeshore Youth Chorale and the Sheboygan Lutheran High School Concert Choir to perform Maurice Duruflé's transcendent Requiem. Kimberly Prins Moeller, mezzo-soprano, and Fabian Qamar, baritone, will be featured soloists. A professional orchestra will join the voices, with Black conducting.

Black said the concert came together in his search to raise the profile of Lakeland's choral program and get his students more involved in the local community.

"Just under a year ago, I decided to pursue a collaboration with an area ensemble, putting together our performing forces for a concert that neither of our ensembles could do alone," Black said.

After initially partnering with the Lakeshore Chorale and the Lakeshore Youth Chorale, Black heard the Lutheran High Choir while serving as a clinician for a Wisconsin School Music Association festival at Lakeland, and asked them to join the program.

Duruflé's Requiem is a personal favorite of Black's and a work he feels is a gem of 20th century choral-orchestral repertoire. Completed in 1947, Duruflé's Requiem was inspired in large part by Gabriel Fauré, another French composer who completed his own Requiem just over 50 years prior.

"Duruflé's work mirrors Fauré's in many ways and incorporates chant or chant-like writing, along with a modern harmonic language," Black said. "This work is not the top echelon of works people know such as the requiems of Mozart, Verdi and Fauré, and for that reason I hope people will be surprised by what they hear. I think it contains some of the most beautiful, affective, dramatic and meaningful music I know."

Black hopes this is the first of what will become an annual event.

"The specific groups involved may change, but Lakeland is looking to form partnerships in the Sheboygan County area so that our community can make great choral-orchestral music right here in our backyard," Black said.

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