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THE RON FREEMAN CHORALE was founded in the fall of 1971. Under the direction of Ron Freeman, the group's primary focus is the performance of music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but it has also presented works by nineteenth and twentieth century composers such as Anton Bruckner, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Louis Vierne and Jean Langlais. Although in size the group could be considered a chamber chorus, it often programs works for double choir from the sixteenth century a cappella literature. Concerts have featured a Mass for double choir by di Lasso and the complex multi-voiced Great Service by William Byrd, Charpentier's seldom-performed Messe pour les Trépassés, Byrd's Mass for four voices, Victoria's Missa pro defunctis, Copland's In the beginning, and Kodaly's Missa Brevis. In May 2002, the Chorale celebrated the completion of its 30th season with a concert at Washington's Franciscan Monastery, featuring the music of G. Gabrieli, Gallus, Caldera, Biber and others, with brass and period instruments. In the 1998-99 season, the Chorale celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Francis Poulenc with a performance of his Mass in G Major. The Chorale has for many years been heard at Washington's Franciscan Monastery on Good Friday. A CD of its twenty-fifth anniversary concert, presenting music from the Bavarian Court, primarily works by Orlando di Lasso, with period instruments, was released in 1997.


Music Director RON FREEMAN has had a varied career as instrumentalist, singer, and conductor. In high school he studied piano, trombone and voice. He entered college with a double major in voice and trombone, but when the opportunity to sing opera presented itself, singing gradually took over. At the age of 21 he sang the role of Rodolfo in a University of Alabama production of La Boheme which was the first fully staged university opera prodiction to be "kinescoped" - today we would say "televised." Immediately after graduating from college he joined the army for a 30-year career as a first tenor in the Army Chorus. He has also been Director of Music at Arlington Forest United Methodist Church since 1967, and for 22 years was Music Director of the Prince George's Choral Society in Maryland.


Review

Joseph McLellan of the Washington Post has been complimentary to the Ron Freeman Chorale. In his review of the April 10, 1998 Good Friday Service at the Franciscan Monastery in DC, he said: "Ron Freeman and the Northern Virginia-based chorale that bears his name have been singing for this ceremony for the past eight years, and have found exactly what is needed -- mostly Renaissance motets, in which they specialize. But the final musical number in the ceremony was the spiritual "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?," thematically and emotionally just right and deeply moving in the performance with soprano Veronica Precup as soloist."


COMPACT DISC AVAILABLE!

"Music of the Bavarian Court: circa 1600" is available by mail order,
or from area Borders Books & Music and Olsson's Books & Records.


The music is by Orlando di Lasso and Hans Leo Hassler. To download excerpts from the CD, click here (312 Kb--about 2 minutes @ 28.8), and here (549 Kb--a little more than 3 minutes @ 28.8). To hear them with Real Player (streaming audio), click here and here.

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Joseph McLellan of the Washington Post said about this March, 1997 concert: "The chorale sang with firm, well-balanced tone, beautifully clear texture in the passages of counterpoint, a fine respect for the pronunciation and meaning of the Latin words, and just the right level of restrained emotional involvement needed to sing material that is prayer as well as music....Sunday night he was clearly doing something he particularly loved. His hands seemed to caress the music as he was shaping it, and he communicated his affection to the chorus and audience."

If you wish to mail order a copy, simply send your name and address, along with a check for $15 to:

The Ron Freeman Chorale
P.O. Box 7456
Arlington, VA 22207