After a three-year absence, the Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra again filled the Cathedral of St. Patrick with beautiful music on April 10 in a special Palm Sunday evening concert.
The orchestra and chorus performed before an audience that almost filled the cathedral, and which included The Most Rev. Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich.
"It's been a while since we have all been able to gather, and I'm grateful to the Almighty that things are beginning to settle down for us," Bishop Cote told an audience of several hundred that came to experience the live music performance.
"We need beauty in our lives right now," Bishop Cote continued, thanking the musicians. "One of the titles that God has is that He is all beautiful ... whenever we hear things such as beautiful music, we hear a little word from Almighty God."
ECSO Music Director Toshiyuki Shimada conducted the orchestra, which presented three pieces by Bach -- from the St. Matthew Passion," the "Violin Concerto in E. Major," and "Air" from Suite No. 3.
Giazotto's "Adagio for Organ and Strings," based on the well-known Albinoni music, began the presentation. The evening also featured solo performances from soprano Jurate Svedaite and violinist Stephan Tieszen.
Svedaite has performed more than 20 leading roles on the operatic stage, has appeared at Carnegie Hall and is the granddaughter of one of Lithuania's most revered composers and arrangers of traditional music, Jonas Svedas. She lives in Southeastern Connecticut and is an associate professor at Connecticut College.
Tieszen, concertmaster of the ECSO, is also a teacher and the Principal Second Violin of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. He is an active performer and lecturer in educational outreach programs.
The orchestra presented works by Giovanni Pergolesi from "Stabat Mater," Mascagni's Intermezzo from "Cavalleria Rusticana," the Meditation from "Thais" by Massenet, the Ave Maria from "Otello" by Verdi and Edward Elgar's "Chanson de Nuit."
The evening concluded with Tchaikovsky's "Preghiera" from Orchestral Suite No. 4.
The Edward and Mary Lord Foundation sponsored the concert, and guests made donations to Saint Vincent de Paul Place. The St. Vincent DePaul Food Center will receive $1,334.50 from the donations from the Palm Sunday Concert.
By Ryan Blessing