The Graceland choirs will present a joint concert Monday, March 13, at 7:30 p.m. in the Shaw Family Auditorium. Both the Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers will be under the direction of Mark Woodcock, a visiting choral conductor while Sara Blessing is on maternity leave. The concert is free and open to the public.
Woodcock holds graduate degrees in choral conducting and music education from Truman State University. After working in Des Moines area public schools, he completed a master's degree in choral conducting from the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn, Estonia, a respected fine arts school created at the conclusion of WWI. Mark has performed as a choral singer and soloist in concerts across North America and Europe, including an upcoming concert series this spring in Estonia and Poland.
Additionally, Mark is the founder and artistic director of Des Moines Camerata, the Des Moines based chamber choir, which specializes in early music. Currently residing in Iowa City, Mark is the music director at the Shueyville United Methodist Church and continues his work with Des Moines Camerata.
"The Poet Sings" is the theme of Monday’s Graceland Choirs concert and features works by both famous and less famous poets. The audience will recognize the names of British authors Rudyard Kipling and Alfred Lord Tennyson. American poets include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stephen Foster and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Less well-known poets include Kabir, a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint, and Hila Plitman, a Grammy-winning operatic soprano specializing in the performance of new works.
The final choir concert of the year, also under the direction of Woodcock, will be Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in the Shaw Family Auditorium.