Dr. Michael Barrett and the Nova Singers present "The Human Heart" -- February 16 and 17.

Saturday, February 16, 7:30 p.m.

First Lutheran Church, 364 East Water Street, Galesburg IL

Sunday, February 17, 4 p.m.

St. Paul Lutheran Church, 2136 Brady Street, Davenport IA

For the group's first concerts of 2019, the professional vocal ensemble the Nova Singers will celebrate The Human Heart in song on February 16 and 17 – a post-Valentine's Day weekend filled with glorious choral arrangements brought to life via the directorial talents of Dr. Laura Lane and the Nova Singers' 22 gifted vocalists.

Through its exciting and eclectic repertoire, The Human Heart will explore many different kinds of love, from the passion of romantic love to the love of a parent for a child. The concerts will also delve into the love of a people for their country, as the song list includes a set of numbers by South African composer Dr. Michael Barrett, who recently concluded a residency at Knox College working with the Nova Singers and leading inspiring workshops on South African music. Dr. Barrett is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Pretoria, the conductor of the world-famous Tuks Camerata, and is one of the world's leading educators in traditional South African music.

Discussing the Human Heart program, Lane says, “Love gives meaning to our lives and motivates so much of what we think, feel, and do. While we tend to focus on romantic love, the love that parents have for their children is one of the most powerful loves there is. When the great British composer Herbert Howells lost his nine-year-old son to a childhood disease, it devastated him, as it would any parent. As he recovered from his loss, he turned repeatedly to his “Requiem” for solace and comfort. This gorgeous a cappella choral work is incredibly moving and the perfect way to remember any lost loved one. This program, however, is not all sadness and loss! We will sing three of Morten Lauridsen’s most beautiful love songs, including the famous, sweetly folk-like “Dirait-on,” and we will close with four thrilling songs arranged by the South African rock star Michael Barrett.”

Founded in 1986 by Knox College's music-department chair Lane, the Nova Singers gathers vocalists from across Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa who share common interests in expressive virtuosity, professional excellence, and community outreach. With the ensemble performing at state, regional, and national conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and throughout the Midwest, the Nova Singers' efforts have been rewarded with grants from the Illinois Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, and to date, the singers have recorded nine albums.

The Human Heart will be performed at Galesburg's First Lutheran Church on February 16 at 7:30 p.m. and Davenport's St. Paul Lutheran Church on February 17 at 4 p.m. Admission is $15-18 with students admitted free of charge, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)341-7038 or visiting NovaSingers.com.

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