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Lenten reflections, music for Holy Week to be sung by Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys

 By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk | jkaczmarczyk@mlive.com 
on March 22, 2013 at 11:45 AM

GRAND RAPIDS – The season of Lent is a time of prayer and repentance to prepare for Holy Week and the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys this weekend presents a program of “Musical Reflections for Holy Week” tonight and Saturday.

Artistic director Scott Bosscher leads the programs by the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys, which performs in the Anglican Cathedral tradition with boys singing the treble or soprano part, and the men supplying the three lower voices.

Bosscher formerly was a choral scholar in the choir of Wells Cathedral in Somerset, England, in the United Kingdom.

The service of Stations of the Cross begins with Incarnation and Epiphany of Jesus Christ but focuses on the events of Holy Week with scripture readings and other readings, such as an anonymous Prayer of a Confederate Soldier dating from 1864.Musical selections run the gamut from a contemporary setting of the ancient Latin text “Ave Verum” to “In Paradisum” from Gabriel Faure’s Requiem.

“What I am even more excited about is introducing Grand Rapids to a new, young British composer by the name of Philip Stopford,” Bosscher said. “Think of his music as a cross between John Rutter and Herbert Howells -- so gorgeous.”

Philip Stopford, now living in Belfast, Ireland, formerly was a boy chorister at Westminster Abbey under organist Martin Neary, who is a musical adviser to the Grand Rapids Choir of Men and Boys.

The program includes Gregorio Allegri's Miserere and the concluding chorus of J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, "In Tears of Grief," is part of the program.

Organist Ken Bos will accompany the program and play music by Bach and others.

Two notable British musicians team up with GRCMB
Martin Neary, former Organist & Choir Master of Westminster Abbey, London is now GRCMB's Principal Guest Conductor and Music Advisor. He returns May 14 to spend the week training the choir. Dr. Neary will direct the Choir to conclude the Barker Sacred Music Series at Central Reformed Church on Sunday, May 20 at 4:00 PM. Music for Ascensiontide  click here for details

Iestyn Davies is one of the leading counter-tenors in the world today. Mr. Davies trained as a chorister at St. John's College, Cambridge (where, by the way, our GRCMB boys have been invited to come and train for a week with Master of Music, Andrew Nethsingha). He later returned to St. John's as a Choral Scholar. In between, Iestyn took up his GCSE & A-Level  music studies at Wells Cathedral School where he was a student of Scott Bosscher. This past December, Iestyn made his Metropolitan Opera debut opposite Renee Fleming in Handel's Rodelinda as well as his recital debut at Carnegie Hall. This February & March bring Iestyn to nearby Chicago, making his Lyric Opera debut in Handel's Rinaldo. Renewing their old friendship, Iestyn heartily accepted Mr. Bosscher's invitation to spend time training the counter tenors of GRCMB. Click here to hear Iestyn sing,