Four outstanding soloists--Rodne Brown of New York City, a tenor; Stephen Bryant of Montclair, a bass-baritone; Alejandra Garrido of Bloomsbury, a lyric soprano; and Patricia Ruggles of Florham Park, a mezzo-soprano--will lend their voices to a gala "Celebration of Classic Masters," Saturday, May 19, at 8 p.m. at the United Methodist Church on the Green in Morristown. The concert is being presented by the renowned Morris Choral Society.
The uplifting concert, under the baton of Morris Choral Society musical director R. Wayne Walters of Parsippany, will feature excerpts from Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven's Hallelujah from The Mount of Olives, and the complete performance of Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass.
Rodne Brown is equally at home on the concert, operatic and musical theater stage. He has performed with numerous companies, including the Kennedy Center, the Houston Grand Opera and the New England Lyric Operetta. Brown made his recording debut as Iman on the CBS-Sony release of "Kismet," and has recorded several works of Alice Parker, founder and director of Melodious Accord. He last appeared as guest soloist with the Morris Choral Society in Charles Gounod's Saint Cecilia Mass at Saint Mary's Abbey in Morristown.
Stephen Bryant of Montclair, a bass-baritone, has sung with the New York City Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Santa Fe Opera, the Indianapolis Opera, and other companies of renown. In performance with major orchestras from the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra to the Israel Philharmonic and the Japan Philharmonic, Bryant has delighted audiences with an extensive repertoire. His numerous other performances include appearances at the Munich Biennale, the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, the Hong Kong Arts Festival, New York City Opera, the Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo, Settembre Musica in Torino, Italy, and at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in Scotland. The Times of London referred to the ". . . unearthly overtone singing, brilliantly accomplished by Stephen Bryant." Bryant, who holds a bachelor's from Oberlin and a master's from the University of Michigan, is on the voice faculty at William Paterson University in Wayne.
Alejandra Garrido of Bloomsbury, a lyric soprano, has performed with various opera companies throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Rutgers Opera, Pineda Lyric, Opera Festival of New Jersey, Stony Hill Players, Center Stage Opera, the Opera Project, and Opera at Florham. Her stage credits include Violetta in La Traviata, Mimi in La Boheme, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Leila in Les Pecheurs de Perles, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Madam Silverpeal in The Impressario, and Belinda in Dido & Aeneas. Garrido received her bachelor's in music, vocal performance, from Rutgers University (Mason Gross School of the Arts) and her master's in opera performance from New Jersey City University. Always looking to improve her craft, she has taken opera acting classes with Richard Crittenden and has studied baroque ornamentation with Julianne Baird. Garrido is co-founder of the Hunterdon Vocal Workshop and is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing as well as the Music Teachers National Association.
Patricia Ruggles of Florham Park is a mezzo-soprano whose singing career ranges from operas to oratorios to recitals. Ruggles has been the soloist in many Baroque works of Bach, Handel, and Vivaldi as well as Mozart's Requiem, Beethoven's Mass in C, and Copland's In the Beginning, appearing with the Morris Choral Society, Ars Musica, and Harmonium. Since 1994 she has been a cantor and the section leader at Corpus Christ Church in Chatham Township and a member of the professional choir at Temple B’Nai Abraham in Livingston. Ruggles performs with Seraphim, a chamber choir in residence at St. Peter’s Church in lower Manhattan. Nine of her recitals have been recorded; the CDs feature keyboardists Paul Zeigler, John Charles Schucker, Gwenn Toth and guitarist Darren O’Neill. Ruggles holds a master of music degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a scholarship student of Elizabeth Mannion and David Garvey.
The acclaimed 85-member Morris Choral Society was named Outstanding Arts Organization of 2007 by the Arts Council of the Morris Area. R. Wayne Walters of Parsippany, the founder and musical director of the Morris Choral Society, was named the 2002 Outstanding Professional in the Arts by the Arts Council of the Morris Area. Kenneth Donohue of Morristown is the society president.
Funding for the Morris Choral Society is provided, in part, by the Arts Council of the Morris Area through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, Local Arts Grant Program.
Tickets to the "Celebration of Classic Masters" concert are $25 for adults; $20 for senior citizens; and $15 for children 18 and younger.
For further information about the Morris Choral Society or the upcoming concert, call 973-998-7239 or visit www.morrischoralsociety.org.