BROOKVILLE — They astounded those who attended last year’s concert at the Marlin Opera House in downtown Brookville and now Alium Spiritum are returning to Brookville.
At 3 p.m. Sunday, June 2, Alium Spiritum, a professional vocal chamber ensemble, will perform a concert, “Saints & Sinners,” of classical music for four voices by Bach, Palestrina, Britten, Poulenc, Stravinsky, and more! Sponsored by Historic Brookville, Inc., the concert is completely different from last year’s performance.
Alium Spiritum will bring four vocalists to the June 2 concert – Brookville native Sean Taylor, son of David Taylor, and Diane Walters, Kim Leeds and Jason Vest. Taylor sings bass, Walters is a soprano, Leeds is a mezzo-soprano and Vest is a tenor. They perform their concerts a cappella or without instrument accompaniment. While the four sing together as Alium Spirit, they also separate to sing without other groups throughout the year.
Last year’s concert, “What Is Thy Joy,” held the audience spellbound and this year’s offering is likely to do the same. The concert is free but seating in the historic opera house is limited. Anyone wishing to attend the concert should email (email@example.com) or call ((814) 299-9868) to reserve a seat.
Both Taylor and Walters, who are married to each other, are faculty at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. He is assistant professor of voice and director of choral studies. He also serves on the summer faculty of Berkshire Choral International, which has him teaching classes, giving recitals and leading sectionals in Massachusetts, Oregon and California. He is a specialist in professional ensemble singing. She is a specialist in collaborative music and has sung with ensembles across the United States and Europe, including The Grammy award-winning ensemble, The Crossing.
Leeds is a soloist, having sung with the Bach Society of St. Louis, the Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Orchestra and Choir, American Bach Soloists Academy and has performed with the Carmel Bach Festival as a Virginia Best Adams Fellow. She has toured with Helmuth Rilling in Eastern Germany as a member of the Weimar Bach Academy and Northern Italy and Southern Germany with the Junges Stuttgart Bach Ensemble. In the U.S., she has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival and this season joins the Handel and Haydn Society.
Vest, a voice professor at Northern Kentucky University, has performed with several opera groups and at several musical gatherings. He is also a member of the Grammy-award winning choral group, Conspirare. He also sings with the Vocal Arts Ensemble and the Bach Ensemble of St. Thomas.
A part of their mission is education and with each concert they try to connect with nearby local schools or colleges to “provide collaborative workshops, Q&A’s with our artists, and pre-view performances,” according to the group’s website.
The setting of the concert is special as well as the Marlin Opera House is not open for visitors other than during special event like this.
The opera house, located above the Opera House Cafe, takes up the second and third floors. The third floor is the balcony area. The venue can only seat 100 people per the fire code but in its heyday seated 900 people. The original gas fed chandelier still hangs above the main seating area and the gas jets that used to light up the stage are still there, though cool led lights are now used to light the stage.
With Historic Brookville Inc. sponsoring the concert, members of the audience might even be lucky enough to get a quick tour of the backstage area where they will still see where the wooden pulleys used to move the four or five backdrops that were once used. The gas controls that could be used to dim or brighten the gas chandeliers are still intact and a small dressing room is off to one side of the stage. While some of the ornate wall designs are somewhat faded, the Marlin still has the power to awe with the history it represents.
Taylor noted last year that the opera house is “perfect for this kind of music. The brick and the wood and the design” is perfect for acoustics.
To learn more about Alium Spiritum and where it may next perform, check out its website, https://www.aliumspiritum.org, or find them on Facebook.