Luis Haza conducts the MasterWorks Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013. Photo provided.
Luis Haza conducts the MasterWorks Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013. Photo provided.
WINONA LAKE – Every year Patrick Kavanaugh promises the MasterWorks Festival will be bigger and better than ever.
This year’s month-long series of concerts, plays, dances, classes and recitals is no different.
“This year is going to be a really great summer,” he stated.
A highlight of the 2014 MasterWorks Festival is something that’s never been done in its 18 years, he said – a choral program.
“We started our first choral program. We have over 80 singers from around the world,” Kavanaugh announced.
On the last night of the Festival, July 12 at 7:30 p.m. in Rodeheaver Auditorium, the Festival Orchestra and chorus will sing Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” in German. It will be conducted by David Bowden. The concert also will feature clarinet soloist Diana Haskell.
Of the 80 members in the chorus, Kavanaugh said 23 are from China. “The Beijing Music School is sending us 23 singers to be a part of this. It should be a lot of fun,” he said.
He said he’s wanted to do “Symphony No. 9” for many years but was unable to do it until now with the choral program. The chorus also features some local singers, he said.
The instrumentalists typically are younger performers, he added, but for the first time, with the orchestra performing with the choir, they took performers of any age.
The theater performance will put on a production of William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing.”
“They’re taking it to an off-Broadway theater in New York again this year, Theatre 315. It’s a very lovely theater. It’s our third performance there. We have a great cast. As soon as you say you’re doing Shakespeare, you have all these people come out of the woodwork,” Kavanaugh said.
“Much Ado About Nothing” will be performed at 8:30 p.m. July 10 in McClain Auditorium, 2:30 p.m. July 11 at Grace Village Chapel and 2 p.m. July 12 in McClain Auditorium. It’s under the direction of Rich Swingle.
The ballet and modern dancers will perform under the direction of Bonnie Ringleb July 5 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. July 6, both performances at the Warsaw Community High School Performing Arts Center. This year part of their performance is Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite.”
While it’s not the first time the MasterWorks dancers have performed the number, Kavanaugh said it’s the first time it will be performed at the PAC instead of Rodeheaver. The orchestra will perform in the pit, conducted by Anthony Spain, for the dance performance.
There are some really great soloists this year at the Festival, Kavanaugh said.
Violin soloist David Kim is one of Kavanaugh’s favorites. “He’s hard to get. He’s a wonderful guy. I like him a lot,” Kavanaugh said.
Kim will perform at 7:30 p.m. June 20 at Rodeheaver Auditorium as part of the philharmonic orchestra.
Alan Chow is one of the greatest pianists in America, Kavanaugh stated.
“He’s new to us and I’ve been trying to get him for years. He’s so popular and good,” he said.
Chow performs at 7:30 p.m. June 21 at Rodeheaver Auditorium as part of the festival orchestra.
One of the greatest singers in Africa is Hanneli Ruppert, a mezzo-soprano soloist, he stated.
“She’s known all over the world,” Kavanaugh said. “She’s known as one of the greatest singers in Africa. She’s doing  a Mahler song, which is very difficult to do. I’ve never met her, we just corresponded, obviously, to set this up. She’s never been to Winona Lake, obviously, but she’s been all around the world. If she can do the Mahler songs, then that’s unbelieveable. I can’t wait to hear her.”
Ruppert will perform at 7:30 p.m. July 3 as part of the festival orchestra in Rodeheaver Auditorium.
Haskell is a fabulous clarinet player, he stated. She performed Mozart for the Festival several years ago and everyone was left speechless, he said.
MasterWorks added a conducting program this year, he noted, with all the students from the United States.
The Fourth of July show has been extended to 1-1/2 hours at the Hillside Amphitheater. The pops concert is with the philharmonic orchestra and starts at 8:30 p.m., weather permitting. It will be conducted by Kavanaugh and features soloists Steven Condy and Robin Leigh Massie.
“There’s almost 50 shows in four weeks. All are free,” Kavanaugh stated. “We will taking an offering the last two nights, July 11-12. Other than that, it’s all free.”
The Festival will feature over 200 instrumentalists, over 80 singers and more than 100 faculty.
There are master classes for almost every instrument and they are open to the public for free.
“It’s such a great opportunity for the community,” he said. “It should be a great year. I’m so excited to get local people on with us and in the chorus.”
“It’s going to be a big one,” he said. “And free shows are hard to find anymore.”
For a complete listing of the Festival, visit the website at www.masterworksfestival.org