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REVIEW: Princeton Pro Musica’s Brahms Requiem

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Over 100 voices illuminated Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium Sunday, November 5. The Princeton Pro Musica Chorus and Orchestra performed Johannes Brahms “Ein Deutsches Requiem” (A German Requiem); one of the most well-known and cherished musical compositions of all time.

Since 1979, Princeton’s Pro Musica Chorus and Orchestra has been setting life to major choral works with orchestral accompaniment. Vocalists and instrumentalists with varied experience levels audition and join forces to present these masterpieces. All forms of avocational singers, as well as music educators contribute to these shows.

Rochelle Ellis, the leading soprano soloist hired by the Pro Musica group is a woman of high distinguishable talents. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, Music Director for Trenton’s Children’s Choir, and Lecturer of Voice at Princeton University.

Ellis’s breathtaking vocals throughout movement V of the requiem, “Ihr Habt Nun Traurigkeit” (Ye Now Have Sorrow), captured the attention of many, specifically former Pro Musica vocalist Helga Staby Deaton.

From 1986 through 1989, Deaton performed with Pro Musica’s chorus as a soprano. She expresses how difficult it is to performer in such a large group. “It was a lot of work!” she exclaims. However, all this hard work pays off. “These people can REALLY sing.” She states.

Ellis told The VOICE: “It’s very important in these days for vocal music to be heard.” She noted that events like this one provide opportunities for unification.

“You have common experiences and can talk about them afterward,” Deaton said, adding “It’s important to keep music and all the arts in society, especially in this time where there is a lot of discourse between political parties and groups of people,” Ellis urges.

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