Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus
Presents a Concert Entitled
Heaven to Earth—A Journey

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (October 22, 2018)—The Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus under the direction of Dr. Christopher Gilliam with the Winston-Salem Symphony Chamber Orchestra will present a concert featuring Aaron Copland’s well-known and treasured “The Promise of Living” (from The Tender Land), Ola Gjeilo’s ethereal Sunrise Mass, and Jake Runestad’s powerful Proud Music of the Storm. The concert will take place on Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Centenary United Methodist Church at 646 West 5th Street in downtown Winston-Salem.

“The Promise of Living” is the finale from Copland’s 1954 opera, The Tender Land. A perfect lead-in to Thanksgiving, this piece celebrates the harvest and the American farmer. Building from a single instrument to a soaring anthem, “The Promise of Living” pays homage to the American heartland and the hard work of those who live there.

Contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass is complex, layered, and at times ethereal. Its movements, “The Spheres,” “Sunrise,” “The City,” “Identity,” and “The Ground,” take the listener on an extraordinarily beautiful musical journey. Gjeilo stated, “I wanted the musical development of the Mass to go from the most transparent and spacey, to something completely earthy and grounded; from nebulous and pristine to more emotional and dramatic, and eventually warm and solid, as a metaphor for human development from child to adult, or as a spiritual journey.”

The concert will conclude with Proud Music of the Storm by contemporary American composer Jake Runestad. Commissioned by the Dallas Symphony Chorus, this piece had its world premiere in October 2017. Runestad describes the piece as follows: “’Ah, from a little child, Thou knowest, Soul, how to me all sounds became music,’ writes Walt Whitman in his poem, ‘Proud Music of the Storm.’ I’ve taken inspiration from Whitman’s words to create a new work celebrating the joy of communal singing and honoring the Dallas Symphony Chorus’s 40th anniversary. The text and music explore the sounds that make up our world—from mountain winds, to the roar of rivers, to songs of lost love—and how they nourish, console, and inspire us in life and in our creative expression.”

“We are excited to present this moving concert, which will allow attendees to revel in the beauty of nature and the power of the soul,” said Dr. Gilliam. “Each piece is a remarkable choral work that will showcase the voices of our talented Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus. This concert is the perfect way to begin the Thanksgiving season.”

Tickets are $15 (price includes sales tax) for general admission seating. Tickets are available in advance by calling the Symphony Box Office at 336-464-0145 or online at

The Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus Concert is sponsored by the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County and the North Carolina Arts Council.

About the Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus

The Winston-Salem Symphony Chorus is an auditioned mixed ensemble made up of volunteer singers, many of whom are professional soloists, or who are current members of area church and university choruses. It is directed by Dr. Christopher Gilliam. The Symphony Chorus rehearses weekly and performs several times each year with the Winston-Salem Symphony. For more information visit

About the Winston-Salem Symphony

The Winston-Salem Symphony, one of the Southeast’s most highly regarded regional orchestras, began its 72nd season in October 2018. The season will include performances featuring the five finalists for the Music Director position. Each candidate will conduct a pair of Classics Series concerts, and attendees will have a chance to play a role in the selection process. In addition, the 2018–2019 season will include a Plugged-In Pops series, Discovery Concerts for Kids series, an annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, the Concert for Community featuring Winston-Salem Symphony and Youth Symphony musicians, holiday concerts, three youth orchestra ensembles, and a multitude of educational and community engagement programs, including the newest offering, the P.L.A.Y. (Piedmont Learning Academy for Youth) Music program providing, primarily to under-served youth, instrumental music instruction and more. The Symphony is supported by Season Presenting Sponsors BB&T and Bell, Davis & Pitt, P.A., as well as generous funding from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council, and other dedicated sponsors. For more information, visit

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This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

The Winston-Salem Symphony receives operational funding from The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County

Educational initiatives made possible with funding by Wells Fargo, The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County and The Winston-Salem and Forsyth County Schools.