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Praeclara presents Rutter’s Mass of the Children, Nov. 18

Omnia praeclara rara. (All excellent things are rare.)
— Marcus Tullius Cicero, De Amicitia

A performing arts organization supported by
Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock

John Rutter’s

Mass of the Children

Saturday, November 18, 7:30 p.m.
Second Presbyterian Church

General admission: $20

For tickets, call (501) 859-9000
or order online at

The Praeclara Vocal Company joins with the UA Little Rock Community Chorus, the adult and youth choirs of Second Presbyterian Church, and professional orchestra players from across the state to present two glorious choral compositions celebrating the fusion of English poetry and song.

John Rutter’s Mass of the Children mixes the traditional Greek and Latin text of a missa brevis with the English poetry of William Blake and Bishop Thomas Ken in a five-movement work for two choirs and orchestra. First performed in New York in 2003, this uplifting piece brings together soprano and baritone solo passages that harmonize and contrast with the choral passages sung by the children’s voices (the songs of innocence) and by the adult group (the songs of experience). Praeclara Vocal Company members Luke Angelo and Shannon Rookey will perform as the baritone and soprano soloists.

Artistic director Bevan Keating prefaces the larger Rutter work with Ralph Vaughan Williams’s 17-minute Serenade to Music, another British composition that offers a study in contrasts. Vaughan Williams wrote this piece to showcase specific individual voices in his small choir, each part matched to a particular soloist for expressiveness, color, and tone. The result is that the voices are almost as varied and distinctive as orchestra instruments: a challenge well suited for the professionals who make up Praeclara’s elite vocal company. The text of the piece is taken from the fifth act of William Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice.