Last year, Arts On The Square was formed under the leadership of minister of music and organist Tyler Canonico at Harrisburg’s historic Market Square Presbyterian Church.
It didn’t take long for Canonico and his team to put together an impressive array of talented regional and national performers for its introductory season, including award-winning organist Chase Loomer and some original holiday and visual arts events.
But, as they say, “timing is everything,” and Arts On The Square was fortunate to discover that an internationally known group would be touring close by. That group, the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir, was added to the roster and is set to perform late this month.
“When we discovered they would be performing in West Virginia and Connecticut during their tour, we contacted them to see if they could perform here, too,” Canonico said. “Fortunately, everything worked out perfectly, and we are so excited about it.”
Audiences will get a taste of that excitement thanks to a mix of sacred and classical music, including Carl Orff’s “Fortuna” from “Carmina Burana,” Johannes Brahms’ “Regina coeli” and other selections.
The second half of the concert will feature secular music, including Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Somewhere” from “West Side Story,” and Eric Whitacre’s “The Seal Lullaby,” among other songs, Canonico said.
The Vienna Boys Choir, based in Vienna, Austria, has a long and notable history dating back to 1498. Over the centuries, the choir became so renowned that composers such as Mozart and Beethoven wrote music especially for them.
Today, there are about 100 active singers between the ages of 9 and 14, divided into four concert choirs. Each member spends nine to 11 weeks of the school year on tour. Together, the choirs complete about 300 performances per year in front of almost 500,000 spectators. They have entertained audiences in almost all of the European countries, Asia and Australia, South and Central America, Canada and the United States, where they have visited more than 50 times since 1932.
When in Austria, the choir’s performances take place on Sundays in Vienna’s Imperial Chapel alongside the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera Chorus. Arts On The Square’s Harrisburg venue shares some of the beauty and majesty of that European chapel, so the choir should feel right at home here.
“Market Square Church is a historic building, completed in 1860 and now the oldest building on the square,” said John Robinson, a member of Arts On The Square’s steering committee and publicist. “It has a large and very beautiful space for musical performances. At the front of the church are three graceful arches held by four columns. The plaster decoration on the walls and ceiling is exuberant, and so, between the visual and aural aspects of a concert there, the listener will be delighted.”
Audiences will experience even more delight during the remainder of Arts On The Square’s 2018-19 season.
On Sunday, May 5, the Sanctuary Choir will lead “Choral Evensong,” which will include works by Leighton, Ossewaarde, Shepherd and others. The season will conclude on June 23 with a concert featuring the Market Square Singers in St. Lawrence Chapel on State Street. The singers will present their program before leaving for a concert tour of Montreal and Quebec City, Canada.
“I wanted to bring a diverse program to our church and city, featuring the different arts—music, visual, dance and so forth,” said Canonico. “Together we assembled the 2018-19 program, which we feel has been a great start.”
The Vienna Boys Choir will perform on March 31 at 4 p.m. at Market Square Presbyterian Church, 20 S. 2nd St., Harrisburg. Tickets may be purchased at www.marketsquarechurch.org/concerts. For more information, call Tyler Canonico at 717-257-1270 ext. 18 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.