College of Charleston SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

“Music for the Soul” and Roast Robert Taylor

Music for the Soul


The Taylor Festival Choir (TFC) will present a choral concert entitled “Music for the Soul” on Sunday, November 4th, at 4pm at Grace Episcopal Church.  A silent auction will precede the concert and continue at intermission.  The concert will be followed by a Spaghetti Dinner Roast in celebration of Maestro Robert Taylor’s 50th birthday.  Tickets prices are $25 preferred seating, $18 general seating and student $10 which  can be purchased online at or at the door. Tickets for the Roast Reception are $15.

The concert will feature works by three of the world’s finest living choral composers: Mass by James MacMillan; Four Nocturnes by Morten Lauridsen; and Three Flower Love Songs by Eric Whitacre. The MacMillan Mass is part of the current TFC recording project, which also features Michael McGlynn’s Celtic Mass.

A former BBC composer of the Year and Grammy winner, James MacMillan has long been dubbed “Scotland’s best musical export”. His setting of the Mass reflects his own devote Catholicism, as well as his showing several of his stylistic hallmarks: use of plainchant, modality, influence of Scottish folksong, but also a sometimes distinctly modern harmonic and textural idiom.

“It is hard to think of any recent music that conveys religious ecstasy as intensely as James MacMillan’s Mass… Closer in style to Britten than to Tavener, MacMillan is distinctive in his brilliant use of choral effects, with surging crescendos to stir the blood: it is music of high voltage from first to last.” –Gramophone 

Perhaps best known for his extremely popular setting of the O Magnum Mysterium text, Morten Lauridsen stands as the current “Dean” of American choral composers. His music has been described as “original, lyrical, and easy to take, without ever seeming simple-minded.” These Nocturnes are Lauridsen’s most recent choral works. In the musical tradition of nocturnes, they are lyrical, often sensuous, sometimes mystical, and always evocative of the poetry (written by Rilke and Nerudo) to which they are set. This will be their Charleston debut.

Eric Whitacre is perhaps the most popular and frequently performed choral composer of his generation. Virtually every high school and collegiate chorister knows and reveres his music. Blessed with movie star charisma and good looks, Whitacre is also a serious composer of the highest degree of skill and inspiration. Cailfornia-born and currently residing in Cambridge, England, Whitacre has managed to make esoteric choral music accessible to young adults throughout the world-in no small part thanks to his fantastically popular YouTube choral performances. In contrast to the very recently written Lauridsen Nocturnes, Three Flower Love Songs are three of Whitacre’s very earliest, stemming from the early 90’s.

The Taylor Festival Choir (TFC) is a semi-professional chamber choir based in Charleston, SC. Founded and conducted by Robert Taylor, the choir is inspired by the life and career of Bob Taylor, the conductor’s late father and a noted choral musician and pedagogue. Since its inception in 2001, the Taylor Festival Choir has toured and been heard in prestigious venues and festivals throughout the U.S. and has garnered a reputation of excellence among critics and choral specialists alike. In 2009, the Taylor Festival Choir was one of only two American adult chamber choirs featured at the prestigious 2009 American Choral Directors Association National Convention and 50th anniversary celebration.  TFC currently records with MSR Classics. Its most recent release Sing We Now of Christmas, recorded with legendary guest artists Liz Carroll, John Doyle and Kim Robertson, has been called “a choral feast that will linger long in your memory after you’ve heard it.” Their current recording project features BBC composer of the year James MacMillan’s Mass, as well as what will be the world premier recording of Celtic Mass by Michael McGlynn. TFC is part of the Taylor Music Group, and serves as the professional choir-in-residence at the College of Charleston. It presents a full concert season in the Charleston area, and serves as the flagship ensemble for the Piccolo Spoleto Celtic Arts Series. Personnel in the ensemble represent conductors, educators, performers and professionals from several states including South Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington. The Taylor Festival Choir performs the finest choral literature from all eras, with particular emphasis on new music and folk music from the Celtic nations. Dedicated to bringing the beauty and spiritual enrichment of choral music to as wide an audience as possible, the Taylor Festival Choir tours frequently, and performs outreach concerts in schools and churches throughout South Carolina and surrounding states. The choir will tour Ireland with their sister ensemble Na Fidleiri in 2013. 

Music for the Soul Taylor Festival Choir, Silent Auction and Roast Rob Reception  Sunday November 4, 2012 Silent Auction before concert and at intermission

Concert at 4 pm
Roast Reception at 6 pm Grace Episcopal Church 96 Wentworth
Charleston Ticket prices: $25 preferred seating, $18 General seating, $10 Student Spaghetti Roast Reception $15

“Watching Robert Taylor conduct, I realized how much the whole production, as well as the conducting, is his personal canvas, and how much he relishes the experience…He is a perfectionist when it comes to the notes, but something else became apparent as he stood with his score in near darkness, urging his singers on: that he is pleasantly obsessed with extracting the exact pitch, tempo, dynamics, and synchronization-not for their own sake, but to reach and convey a sense of spiritual serenity.” ~Peter Ingle, Charleston Today