“A concert that makes you feel like you do when watching emotionally captivating historical adventure movies like Titanic - but through the power of music and singing in live performance art”
Just imagine- it’s 1841 and you decide to make a journey from the American frontier to California to make a better life for yourself. It’s 2,000 miles away, and it will take you 6 months through the desolate prairie, treacherous mountains, and unforgiving desert. You’ll be traveling entirely through unsettled lands- no towns to stop in for resupply or rest. You have to make it on just the handful of things you can fit in your wagon train, and live off the land. Four incredibly talented soloists will lead you on this perilous adventure across America in Pioneer Songs, an epic 15-song musical event.
Adding the power of a full symphonic orchestra and 100 person choir, conductor Ruth Ochs will fully immerse you in the emotions of the journey, finding yourself wondering “What would I have done?” And yet be perfectly relatable today- each time we begin a new life adventure we face the same emotions as the American Pioneers- the hopes and anticipation, the fears and hardships along the way, the perseverance and triumphs as we strive to reach our destiny.
Come along on this powerful musical adventure - and invigorate your pioneering spirit!
The Community Musical
This is truly a musical event created “By the Community, Performed by the Community, and For the Community." On top of experiencing a great night of entertainment, your attendance provides support for our Communities' creative artists and dedicated performers- in this case the wonderful Westminster Community music programs offered through the Westminster Conservatory. The Westminster Group is in a state of uncertainty with the pending sale to Kaiwen Education- attending this event sends a message loud and clear that we want the Westminster Conservatory to survive, continue to offer great community music opportunities, and continue to produce masterful and relevant works of art like Pioneer Songs.
The performing artists include your neighbors and friends from Mercer, Somerset, Bucks, and Middlesex counties. The magnificent music and beautiful melodies are composed by Westminster Conservatory of Music faculty Eric Houghton, with the deeply-human lyrics co-wrote by Eric and his pupil Robert Marquis. The fabulous conductor Ruth Ochs is the music director of the Westminster Community Orchestra, and will bring the music alive on stage for all 5 gifted soloists, the talented Orchestra, and the Westminster Community Chorus with the assistance of choral director Sinhaeng Lee. Westminster Conservatory faculty and Choir College alumni Nancy Hoerl narrates the journey between songs, deftly relating the audience to both the perspectives of the time and the same trials and emotions that we all still face today.
Soloists sopranos Kathee Zenn and Miranda Lammers-Smith are Westminster Choir College graduates and have performed in numerous operatic, theatric, and choral works including appearances with the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Lyric tenor Jeremy Blossey and bass-baritone Martin Hargrove have performed professionally with the local Boheme Opera of NJ as well as leading operatic roles throughout the World, including engagements at Teatro Real and the Auditorio Nacionale in Madrid, the Israeli Opera House, the Kennedy Center, the National Chorale, and with the acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble as featured soloist in Ireland, France, Spain, and Ecuador. The remainder of the epic 100 person Choir features the stellar Ewing-based Glassbrook Vocal Ensemble and additional skilled choir members from our local communities.
A Tribute to Robert Marquis
Tragically, Robert Marquis passed away suddenly before being able to see his dream for Pioneer Songs touch our Community in the way he had hoped. But by seizing the day to pursue his dream, Robert left a lasting legacy in the emotionally-moving lyrics of Pioneer Songs. Thanks to the skill and perseverance of composer Eric Houghton, Robert's dream is now bigger than ever in a full symphonic orchestral version. The legacy of Robert’s pioneering spirit lives on in this epic performance we will give you on November 10th, 2018 on the grand stage of Patriots Theater.