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Art beat: Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra Chorus offers free concert

The Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra's Chorus will present a free concert at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Stone Mountain at 2 p.m. Sunday. The singers will be accompanied by Edward Weaver on organ and Kimberly Nilsson on piano, with ensembles from the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra under the direction of chorus conductor Rick Smith.

The event will be the finale to the organization's season. For the past 11 years, this nonprofit group has been offering talented students and adults the opportunity to perform classical and popular music in a variety of groups. Over the past decade, the organization has developed offshoot groups from its orchestral base.

The Symphony Orchestra and the Symphony Chorus consist entirely of volunteer musicians. Professional and volunteer musicians make up the Ballet and Chamber Orchestras. Professional ensembles-in-residence include the Gwinnett Horn Quartet, the Gwinnett Brass Quintet and the Gwinnett String Quartet.

For Sunday's concert, the 2-year-old GSO Chorus will embark on its first standalone choral concert without the full orchestra. Selections will range from the very classical to pop classics, and accompaniment will include not only the organ and piano but a chamber group, a combo band, and solo percussionists. The chorus is made up of about 40 voices, and soloists include tenor David Berry and baritone Jeff Bunce.

The audience will be treated to a wide variety of melodies. Bach's Cantata No. 129, "O Lord We Sing Thy Praise" and Mozart's "Ave Verum Corpus" will be on the program as well as Kirby Shaw's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

What choral concert is complete without Rutter? His lovely "Open Thou Mine Eyes" will be performed as well as Martin's "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." Selections by Brahms, Tallis, Williams, and other composers are included.

Another resident ensemble of the GSO, the Gwinnett Wind Quintet, will also perform Sunday. These musicians include Kathy Farmer on flute, Brian Seaton on oboe, Diane Hargreaves on clarinet, Steve Acklin on bassoon and Adrian Norris on horn.

Music enthusiasts will also want to mark their calendars for a number of other dates when the GSO will entertain the public free of charge.

"Symphony on the Green" is brought to the community by the city of Duluth and performed in the Town Green. A summer concert series featuring the GSO will be performed consisting of three Friday evening events: a classical concert June 19, a choral concert July 17 and a pops concert Aug. 21. Each concert starts at 7 p.m.

For more information about Sunday's concert, visit the GSO's Web site at www.newschoolofmusic.com. Eastminster Presbyterian Church is located at 5801 Hugh Howell Road in Stone Mountain.

The GSO Chorus is an all-volunteer group open to youth and adults with at least three years of singing experience. Those interested in joining may call Rick Smith at 678-481-3866. The GSO itself has openings from time to time for specific instruments. Call www.gwinnettsymphony.com for more information.