Since its founding in 1952, Canterbury Choral Society has dedicated itself to presenting programs of the finest sacred music, complete with appropriate instrumental accompaniment. Frequently, these presentations have included children’s choruses. Mahler’s grandest work, The Eighth Symphony in E-flat major, or Symphony of a Thousand, was composed to present the idea of redemption, and is being sung by CCS this year for the tenth time. It requires a monumental children’s chorus, which this year exceeds 325 young choristers.
Canterbury has decided to honor this history of encouraging young singers by commissioning a work especially suited to them, and will present Bound for Glory by Rollo Dilworth in its world premiere. This new work looks to the spirituals by Antonin Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9, “The New World” Symphony and the spirituals “Goin’ Home” and “Deep River (Henry T. Burleigh) and extends their theme of the heavenly journey.
The juxtaposition of Mahler’s theme of redemption with a new piece for youth choirs reflecting the heavenly journey was conceived by Canterbury Conductor Jonathan De Vries. With the support of the CCS Board, De Vries approached one of the leading choral composers of our era, Dr. Rollo Dilworth, about composing a work for this purpose. Dr. Dilworth is the Chair, Music Education and Music Therapy, and Professor of Choral Music Education at Boyer College of Music and Dance, Temple University, in Philadelphia; he has published more than 150 choral compositions and arrangements.