Come Away to the Skies: A High Lonesome (Bluegrass) Mass

This work is a winsome set of folk-hymn arrangements taken from the mid-19th century shape note hymnbooks The Sacred Harp and The Southern Harmony, and organized around the traditional Christian church liturgy. The service known as “High Mass” comes from the liturgical order of worship: Kyrie (Lord, Have Mercy); Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest); Credo (We Believe); Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy); Agnus Dei (Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world). The adjective “high” before “mass” indicates a service that is chanted and sung, instead of spoken. The working title for this work plays on the words “High Mass,” by incorporating the word “Lonesome” from the bluegrass musical style. Texts and tunes forming basis Appalachian folk-hymns and bluegrass music share common features. These include the elegant simplicity of the poetry and theology of the hymns; the folk-song quality of the tunes; and the interval of the rising fourth at the beginning of many of the tunes as a “gathering tone” for the group to find their starting pitch. These combine with an underlying theme of hope and optimism for a better place and a happier day. As COME AWAY TO THE SKIES: a high lonesome mass invites you into the singing and performance of these timeless hymns, place yourself musically into an era when a singing experience paid little attention to the length of a service—but rather invited you to enjoy community and extended gathering time through learning songs in singing schools, through shape-notes, and occasionally through days of religious services. There is nothing nostalgic, however, about the poignancy and integrity of texts and tunes upon which this work is based.

Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 2:30 pm
Location: Grace Presbyterian Church, 113 Hargrove Road, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Tuscaloosa Symphony Orchestra Annual Holiday Celebration

Join the Tuscaloosa Symphony, Alabama Choir School, Prentice Concert Chorale, and Shelton Singers as they perform holiday favorites that will set you in the spirit of the season.

Monday, December 12, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.
Location: Frank M. Moody Music Building, 810 Second Avenue, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

Let it Be: A Beatles’ Tribute Reprise

Join us for a reprise performance of the 2019 Beatles’ tribute concert.  The concert features over 20 selections from the Beatles’ vast repertoire performed by the full chorale, chamber group, select ensembles, and guest soloists.  And, there are a couple of audience sing-alongs.

Thursday, January 26, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Friday, January 27, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Sunday, January 29, 2023 at 2:30 pm
Location: Grace Presbyterian Church, 113 Hargrove Road, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

A Requiem of Hope

Commissioned in honor of Prentice Concert Chorale’s 50th anniversary season, this non-traditional mass for SATB chorus, Soprano and Baritone soloists, and chamber orchestra was composed by C.G. (Sonny) Walden, III. An award-winning composer, his composition “Hope” was recently performed in front of the painting by the same name at the Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey, UK as a part of the bicentennial celebration of artist George Watts.

Friday, March 31, 2023 at 7:00 pm
Saturday, April 1, 2023 at 2:30 pm
Location: Grace Presbyterian Church, 113 Hargrove Road, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401