The Chattanooga Bach Choir will present “Music in Honor of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War” in concert Sunday, Nov. 24, 150 years to the day of the Civil War battle on Lookout Mountain.
Conducted by David Long, the choir will not only perform American music that was popular when Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain were under siege but also explore some of the unique works of American music from the Revolutionary period through the late 19th century.
The concert will feature several well-known composers, including William Billings, sometimes called the father of American choral music, who wrote for choirs in the Boston area around the time of the Revolutionary War; and Stephen Foster, whose popular and very singable works portrayed the country’s marginalized people as having the same desires, fears and disappointments as the mainstream population.
The program also will include popular hymns from the Southern harmony and shape-note traditions, such as “Wondrous Love” and “I’m Going Home,” which was featured in the movie “Cold Mountain.” The choir will perform some of the shape-note pieces with the traditional solfege syllables instead of lyrics.
Also on the program are some unexpected names, among them, that of Theodore Pachelbel, whose “Magnificat” is his only surviving work. Pachelbel, youngest son of Johann Pachelbel and a contemporary of J.S. Bach, left Germany and was living in Boston by 1733, moved on to Rhode Island and eventually became a well-known public music figure in Charleston, S.C. David Moritz Michael, another German, found his way to a Moravian school in Pennsylvania, where he taught, composed and led an orchestra.
Selections from the Civil War era include “Home, Sweet Home,” a piece from a 19th-century opera that became a favorite of Civil War soldiers on both sides of the conflict, and “Aura Lee” a folk song that saw a resurgence in the 1950s with new lyrics (“Love Me Tender”) sung by Elvis Presley.
Guest artist Stephen Humphries, percussion instructor at Lee University and Covenant College, will round out this presentation of American music with traditional Appalachian music, including an arrangement of “Simple Gifts,” on the hammered dulcimer.
IF YOU GO
* What: Chattanooga Bach Choir’s “Music in Honor of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War Concert.”
* When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.
* Where: Second Presbyterian Church, 700 Pine St.
* Admission: $15 suggested donation; free for students with ID.
* Website: www.chattanoogabachchoir.org.