A Journey in Choral Music

Howard Hanson, Herbert Howells, Giovanni Pierluigi Da Palestrina, Stephen Paulus, Traditional / Arr. Caracciolo, Traditional / Arr. Ladizinsky-Radford

A. BARRON BRELAND, conductor



pilgrimage noun
pil· grim· age | |pil-gre-mij
1. a journey of a pilgrim; especially: one to a shrine or a sacred place
[ definition from Merriam-Webster ]

The Pilgrimage recording project was named in a quite straightforward fashion. In 2017, Résonance was invited to perform Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the Steamboat Symphony Orchestra in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, at Holy Name Catholic Church. Holy Name, at the time, had in residence a fully illuminated St. John’s Bible, an artifact of the faith which had inspired many people to make pilgrimage to Steamboat Springs to see it. This collaboration was to be Résonance’s inaugural engagement outside the greater Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, metropolitan areas; thus, it was decided to program the ensemble’s separate concert portion of the performance around the idea of pilgrimage.

The repertoire we selected for Pilgrimage speaks directly to this theme – whether representing the act of pilgrimage by journeying down to the river to pray, or “a-wand’ring” through this world of woe, or echoing the voices of the faithful who live their lives on spiritual pilgrimage to enlightenment and oneness with their chosen Creator in songs of their faith.

The concepts of pilgrimage and journey themselves as they relate to the ensemble itself entered the process of programming this album as well. In addition to coming about as a result of Résonance’s first out-of-state tour, this project would also become the ensemble’s first recording: the initial visit to the “shrine” of creating an artifact for public consumption instead of its heretofore live-only performance history. It was fitting, then, to find ways to mirror the pilgrim’s progress from familiar home territory at the outset to environs further afield – after all, part of the value of pilgrimage is found in the leaving of home for places unknown. Thus are included both familiar staples of the choral repertoire, such as the Palestrina and Paulus works, as well as lesser-known but equally compelling works, like the Howells Requiem.

Finally, pilgrimage itself is rarely the fruition of the spiritual journey. The pilgrim is changed by the journey and arrival at the destination, embarking again afterward with new perspective and new goals. Similarly, this project has taught Résonance much about its purpose, process and passions. Equipped and empowered with newfound knowledge, further unforgettable experiences await future Résonance audiences. [Adam Witte, June 2020]
Résonance is a premier vocal ensemble comprising multi-talented, semi-professional singers whose mission is to engage, inspire and challenge those they entertain through eclectic and innovative vocal music performances and compelling collaborations. Based in Omaha, Nebraska, the group was founded in 2012 by three inspired sopranos who saw the need for a collaborative ensemble of its kind. Under the leadership of its first music director, Kevin Smith, Résonance grew from eight singers to a performing ensemble of 16 singers. Currently under the direction of A. Barron Breland, Résonance boasts a roster of more than 40 versatile, committed vocal artists who tell compelling stories through song. The ensemble believes that all vocal and choral music is, at its heart, about telling stories, and therefore undertakes a wide range of repertoire – regardless of genre or content – to provide uncommonly varied experiences for its audiences. The approach to preparation and performance is twofold. First, anything sung should be sung beautifully, with full sound and well-grounded vocal technique that includes a rich, sonorous auditory resonance. Second, the human essence in every work must be conveyed effectively to the audience, enabling them to experience what we call “emotional resonance”. In striving towards and achieving these goals, the Résonance ensemble provides a special musical transcendence. [ resonancevoices.org ]

A. Barron Breland has emerged as a conductor set apart from others by an eclectic set of skills that equip him to direct performances of music from masterworks of the Baroque and Classic eras to great contemporary works, including repertoire in various popular styles. With degrees in music theory and choral conducting from the University of Georgia and Indiana University, Breland has a diverse background in many different fields of music, including the piano and saxophone. In 2009, he completed his doctorate in choral conducting at the Jacobs School of Music and was guest conductor of the 120-member Grammy-nominated Singing Hoosiers. Currently, Breland is full professor and Chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Creighton University, conducting the Creighton University Chamber Choir (Creighton’s premiere ensemble) and teaching classes in theory, conducting and diction. He is in demand as an adjudicator and clinician around the Midwest, and the Chamber Choir has performed at Nebraska Music Educators Association and North Central American Choral Directors Association conferences and appears regularly with the Omaha  Symphony, including solo engagements performing the Duruflé Requiem and Haydn’s Creation. He is also the artistic director of the River City Mixed Chorus in Omaha and appears frequently as chorusmaster with the Omaha Symphony. Breland was appointed music director for Résonance in 2015. Under his leadership, the singers have performed as featured ensemble with the Omaha Symphony, Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, Opera Omaha and at the Nebraska Choral Directors Association annual conference.
SOPRANO - Kori Archbold, Elizebeth Brazeal, Tara Cowherd, Bethany (Eckloff) Rouse, Sarah Frederickson, Angela Gilbert, Becky Lowe-Weyand, Lauren Morrissey and Jennifer Tritz

ALTO - Ellie Beeson, Nicole Chapman, Wendy Eaton, Janeen Jensen, Patty Kramer, Allison Matson, Kimberly Pearce and Kaitlin Pearson

TENOR - Todd Brooks, Alexander Brown, Brian Jay, Joseph O’Connor, Nathan Saetveit, Jon Sronce, Adam Witte and Evan Wohlers

BARITONE - Jared Hiscock, Cody Jorgensen, Tom Lesiak, Joe Mendick, Paul Rath, Kyle Sandall and Jesse Wohlman

TRADITIONAL | Arr. Ladizinsky-Radford

TRADITIONAL | Arr. Caracciolo


HOWARD HANSON (1896-1981)

I. Salvatore Mundi
II. Psalm 23
III. Requiem Aeternam (1)
IV. Psalm 121
V. Requiem Aeternam (2)
VI. I Heard a Voice from Heaven

STEPHEN PAULUS (1949-2014)

MSR Classics