SSO guest conductor to take turn on Sunday

Springfield Symphony Chorale conductor Basil Fett will step up to conduct the entire Orchestra for Sunday’s “Human Requiem” concert. CONTRIBUTED

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Springfield Symphony Chorale conductor Basil Fett will step up to conduct the entire Orchestra for Sunday’s “Human Requiem” concert. CONTRIBUTED

The Symphony Chorale shares prominent role.

With Springfield Symphony Orchestra conductor Peter Stafford Wilson committed elsewhere and the previously announced guest conductor unable to make it due to health concerns, this month’s MasterWorks III concert could’ve been in jeopardy.

Coming through in the clutch to claim the conductor’s baton is Basil Fett, the longtime director of the Symphony Chorale, who will take on “The Human Requiem” at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requiem,” also known as “The German Requiem” or “The Human Requiem” will be performed, supported by the Symphony Chorale and guest vocalists soprano Katy Shackleton Williams and baritone Errik M. Hood.

As this is the annual concert the Chorale gets to shine, it’s also the perfect opportunity for Fett to step in.

“It’s great to have all these forces working together since this is one of the biggest draws of the year, one we can do for a big audience,” he said.

Fett knew it was a possibility he could be stepping in and got the call in January, allowing a few weeks to prepare.

It isn’t his first turn at the podium. Fett also conducted two years ago for the Symphony’s Mozart Festival, and his familiarity with the musicians also helps.

“That’s a great moment when you step in front of the orchestra,” he said.

Fett is equally excited about the piece.

“ ‘The Human Requiem’ is as beautiful as it gets, and when you get it you don’t want to pass it up,” he said. “The fifth movement is one of my favorites.”

He explained it’s a spiritual piece of music that speaks to people in a very universal way.

There are 98 performers in the Chorale, and this will amp up the energy, Fett said. He’s worked with Hood previously and looks forward to reuniting with him, while Shackleton Williams was recommended by the guest conductor who had to bow out.

“This is one of the top line pieces you’re ever going to hear,” Fett said.

This concert will be presented without an intermission.

The Opening Notes and Performance Prelude will feature Jennifer Wightman and the Springfield Children’s Chorus at 2:15 p.m. in the Turner Studio Theatre.

Contact this contributing writer at bturner004@woh.rr.com.


How to go

What: Springfield Symphony Orchestra, MasterWorks III, The Human Requiem

Where: Clark State Performing Arts Center, 300 S. Fountain Ave., Springfield

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, March 19

Admission: $56-30

More info: 937-325-8100 or www.springfieldsym.org

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