DID YOU KNOW in May the Houston Symphony Chorus brought the sounds of Rachmaninoff’s The Bells to our city where they showcased the talent of this all-volunteer ensemble, which includes Trinity’s very own pastor, Michael Dorn?
The preparation for The Bells began a few months prior to the performance. Thanks to our Trinity Lutheran family, who lent their facilities to the chorus, the group was able to rehearse once a week. While rehearsing for The Bells, the Houston Symphony Chorus was also preparing for other upcoming performances of Broadway music and Carmina Burana.
Rachmaninoff’s symphony is inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s poem of the same name. Working from a Russian translation of the poem, the composer constructed a four-movement orchestral piece, utilizing the sound of bells to mark the passages of time throughout life. Throughout the piece sounds of bells represent joyous celebrations, raise alarms for war and emergency, then finally the melancholy tones of death.
With its challenging arrangements, The Bells, is a choral masterpiece which required a strong group to perform with the orchestra’s musicians. But up to that challenge, The Houston Symphony Chorus, an ensemble made up entirely of volunteers, was prepared to accompany one of the country’s best symphonies in this performance of a lifetime.
Amongst the many skilled volunteer musicians is Senior Pastor Michael Dorn, who is bass in the chorus. Pastor Dorn is in his third season singing with the Houston Symphony Chorus approaching 50 performances with the orchestra!
“It’s helped me grow,” said Dorn when talking about his time with the Symphony. “I’ve sung in pop performances, in heavy-duty classical pieces, in more contemporary concerts. A year ago, I sang Messiah. We always get to meet with the conductor, and the Messiah rehearsal with the conductor was like a three-hour doctoral level course at seminary.” Dorn laughs. “It gave me material for my sermons.”
With the help of its community members such as Trinity Downtown, who opened their doors to the Symphony, the chorus was given a chance to demonstrate their professionalism and sheer talent.