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Repertory choir to bring its rich sound back to Emanu-El

Elliot Jones conducts the Arizona Repertory Singers in the ‘King David’ oratorio at Temple Emanu-El on April 29, 2018. (Photo: Celesteal Photography)

Arizona Repertory Singers will present a concert at Temple Emanu-El on Sunday, April 28, “Psalms of David and Songs of Solomon.”

“The Arizona Repertory Singers are one of this city’s choral treasures,” says Robert Lopez-Hanshaw, music director at Temple Emanu-El. “They always bring a beautiful, rich sound to the spaces they perform in. And they are performing some adventurous repertoire this time around, including a piece by Daniel Asia, who has been a big influence on me as a musician. I’m always happy to be able to host such an ensemble at Temple.”

Asia, a celebrated composer and University of Arizona professor, sets poetry by e.e. cummings in “Purer Than Purest Pure,” using a unique 20th century musical style with neotonal harmonic language. Another concert highlight will be a work by the acclaimed American composer David Lang. In Lang’s 2016 composition, ‘Make Peace,’ he uses the last section of the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer said in memory of the dead, as inspiration for the text: “if you can make peace/ make peace/in the heavens/ in us/in all the world/make peace.”

The 40-member choral ensemble also will sing Psalm settings by C.V. Stanford, Arthur Honegger, James Macmillan, and a “take-your-breath-away” setting of Psalm 150 by Brazilian composer Ernani Aguiar, says ARS Music Director Elliot Jones. They also will perform music reflecting the “Song of Songs” by John Dunstable and Edward Bairstow.

The concert also will feature “The Fruit of Silence” by Latvian composer Pēteris Vasks, which is a meditative setting of a text by Mother Theresa.

A reception will follow the concert.

Tickets are $18 in advance at and $20 at the door. Admission for students is free with student I.D. For group ticket discounts (10 or more), email

Temple Emanu-El’s concert series will include a performance by the Arizona Balalaika Orchestra on Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m.

The concert will feature vocalists Natalia Neazimbyetov and Guy Velgos, and musicians in full costume playing on imported Russian instruments — the triangular balalaikas, the rounded domras (resembling the mandolin), accordions and woodwinds, and the harp-like gusli. Along with traditional Russian folk melodies, the concert will include Moldovan, Jewish and Ukrainian songs. Well-known numbers will feature “Moscow Nights,” “Kalinka,” and “Lara’s Theme” from the movie “Dr. Zhivago.”

A $10 donation will be requested at the door. For more information, call Temple Emanu-El at 327-4501.