Joshua Dufford

Community, campus voices to harmonize in performance of John Rutter’s Requiem

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News Joshua Dufford doesn’t know where he’ll be next year. Next weekend he’ll graduate with a masters in choral conducting. For the past year, in addition to his studies and duties as a chorale assistant on campus, he’s served as choir director at First Presbyterian Church. Come September he’d love to be back in the classroom, and that means there’s a good chance he won’t be at the Bowling Green church. Before he departs, though, Dufford wants to make one more musical memory for the congregation and choir. On Sunday, May 12, at 5 p.m., Dufford will conduct an ensemble of more than 50 singers and instrumentalists in a performance of John  Rutter’s Requiem. The free performance, which will be about 45 minutes long, will be in the church at 126 South Church St. “I tend to create projects just for fun,” Dufford said. “I enjoy organizing them because I know there’s a desire for community members to sing.” The requiem fits the bill. “Rutter’s Requiem is both beautiful and accessible, so it’s within reach of a community chorus. It can be put together more easily than others because a lot of people have sung the Requiem. It’s well known and well liked, and cherished.” The popular British composer completed it in 1985, and dedicated it  to his father who had died the previous year. Not quite half of the singers have performed the piece before, Dufford said. This is his first time  performing the Requiem either as a singer or a conductor. He has done other Rutter works and the First Presbyterian Choir has sung one section of the Requiem, the setting of “The Lord Is My Shepherd.” Dufford said the Requiem has been done at the church in the past. Dufford felt he could do it with the choir at First Presbyterian including the handful of choral scholars from the university who sing with them, but he wanted to reach out to others to join. That fits with the church’s mission of engaging the community. He recruited additional voices from the ranks of the Toledo Choral Society, where he is assistant conductor, the University Choral Society at BGSU, and from his fellow musicians on campus. The soprano soloist is Leah Tracy, a sophomore music major. The 50-voice chorus will be accompanied by a chamber ensemble of flute, oboe, cello, harp, organ, and timpani….