FD Choral Society celebrates 50 years

“Music of the Future” will conclude the Fort Dodge Choral Society’s 50th anniversary celebration at 3 p.m. today at St. Olaf Lutheran Church.

Admission to the concert, located at 239 N. 11th St., is by season ticket or $10 at the door. All students are admitted free. For more information, visit fdchoralsociety.org or call (515) 979-5620.

Choir, orchestra, organist Jeanette Hinkeldey, and guest soloists Melodie Chitty, Andrea Blocker, Rick Chitty, and Robert Patton will join forces to present Rene Claussen’s “A New Creation.”

Composer Daniel Kallman will be present for the world premiere of his new creation “I Am in Need of Music,” a work commissioned by the Choral Society to celebrate not only the group’s 50 years of bringing choral works to life, but Conductor Bruce Perry’s 25th anniversary season with the group. Former singers, directors, and pianists will be honored at the concert and during the gala reception following.

Northfield, Minnesota, resident Kallman’s compositions for orchestra, winds, and choir are widely published and performed across North America, Europe and East Asia. His steady stream of commissions includes music for worship, theater, dance, and the young musician. Kallman has composed for the National Symphony Orchestra, the Air Force Academy Band, the National Lutheran Choir, the Minnesota Orchestra, A Prairie Home Companion, and a wide variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles.

His newest work, “I Am in Need of Music,” sets American poet Elizabeth Bishop’s sonnet as a tone poem for choir and chamber orchestra.

“It is thrilling to bring Dan’s newest creation to life,” Perry said. ”Working with him, helping select the text, and hearing the new work begin to jump from the page and form beautiful sound is amazing. The composer has perfectly captured the poem’s testament of our need for music–the very need that has made Fort Dodge Choral Society flourish for the past 50 years.”

The Fort Dodge Choral Society unites singers from Fort Dodge and surrounding counties to present four different concert programs each season. The choir frequently collaborates with area instrumentalists and guest soloists to perform a variety of masterworks. Singers include past and present music educators, those who have sung in college choirs, talented high school singers, and those who love the vocal art.

The Fort Dodge Choral Society was founded in the fall of 1968 by Sara Sutton and others in the community whose interest was to form an organization dedicated to studying and performing sacred and secular choral works. Former chair of the Iowa Central Community College music faculty, J. Eugene McKinley, served as conductor for the first nine seasons. Early highlights included festival concerts under the baton of nationally-known conductors Paul Salamunovich and Weston Noble.

In 1985, the group commissioned and premiered “The Crown of Peace” by noted composer John Carter. The group has presented nearly 200 concerts and appeared with most performing arts groups in the Fort Dodge area. Perry is the group’s eighth, and longest-serving conductor.