An inspirational evening is promised to the public on Sunday, May 23rd, 2010, when the St. Paul's Episcopal Church Choir performs a rarely heard symphonic version of Requiem (1985) for chorus and orchestra by British composer John Rutter (b. 1945). Members of the Grammy-award-winning New Jersey Symphony will accompany the choir in what is expected to be a highly lyrical performance of this respected choral work. St. Paul's Director of Music Charles M. Banks will conduct.

The concert begins with a performance of the Concerto No. 1 for Organ & Orchestra in F Major, (Opus 137) by German composer Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901). The concerto soloist is Eric Plutz, Principal University Organist at Princeton University. Described as a "spirited and virtuosic artist," Plutz is the former organist and director of music at Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D.C. He has performed in distinguished venues throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Rutter's featured Requiem is in seven movements: Requiem aeternam; Out of the Deep; Pie Jesu; Sanctus; Agnus Dei; The Lord is My Shepherd; and Lux aeterna. Taking a non-traditional approach to the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass, Rutter bases two movements on scriptural texts: Psalm 130 - Out of the Deep, in which the deeper alto voices alternate with an evocative cello solo in C minor; and Psalm 23 - The Lord is My Shepherd, in which the gentle voice of an oboe peacefully intertwines first with soprano voices, then builds with the tenors and baritones, then rises to a high place of spiritual comfort with the full chorus.

Soprano soloist for the Pie Jesu is Carey Hackett. Hackett is an accomplished solo artist, choral singer and conductor whose career has been varied and eclectic. As a solo artist, she has performed with the Vorhees Choir in Paris and at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres, and with the Prospect Presbyterian Church Choir, touring Canada and the United Kingdom. Her performance experience spans the entire choral repertoire, from early works to baroque and classical masterpieces like Handel's Messiah and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to contemporary pieces like the Requiem. Hackett is a graduate of the Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers) and is an Orff-certified music educator and conductor. Currently, she teaches vocal music to more than 400 elementary school children in New Jersey.

Soprano Julia Fernandez is the featured soloist in the Requiem's Lux aeterna. Fernandez is a graduate of Westminster Choir College (Princeton) and was a finalist in her division of the NJ National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition. She also was a winner of the Austrian-American Society Mozarteum Scholarship Competition. Fernandez has performed throughout Europe, Eastern Europe and the U.S.--for example, with the New York Philharmonic; Dresden Philharmonic; at the Spoleto Festival USA; at the annual Interpretacion de la cancion Española in Granada, Spain; and at the Festival of the Aegean in Greece. Future engagements include a recital of Sacred Song in Puebla, Mexico.

The concert starts promptly at 7pm and is followed by a gala reception. A $15 donation is suggested. St. Paul's Episcopal Church is located at 414 E. Broad Street in Westfield, N.J. For directions, visit www.stpaulswestfield.org