Tulsa Oratorio Chorus to perform bluegrass Mass at Cain's on Thursday
BY JAMES D. WATTS JR. World Scene Writer
Thursday, November 01, 2012
11/01/12 at 4:34 AM
It pleases Tim Sharp to no end to know that the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus will be spending Thursday evening at Cain's Ballroom.
"Nov. 1 is All Saints Day," he said, "and there we'll be with the faces of people like Bob Wills and Roy Rogers and all the rest looking down on us."
Sharp laughed, then said, "For a country music fan with a perverse sense of humor, I can't imagine anything better."
Sharp is the artistic director of the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, an ensemble best known for its performances of music by such composers as Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.
But Sharp is also a great fan of bluegrass and country music, and for the past few years he has been at work on creating what he calls "Come Away to the Stars: A High Lonesome Mass."
The work - for chorus and bluegrass band - takes as its basic musical foundation old-time hymn tunes and elaborates on these simple melodies to create a work that follows the form of the Latin Mass.
Sharp premiered the work in Tulsa this summer as part of a Tulsa Oratorio Chorus fundraising event. Thursday's concert at Cain's Ballroom will be the first public performance of the piece in Tulsa.
"So far it's been performed about eight times, and I think we've done all the editing and tweaking we can," Sharp said. "So it's set."
The mass will be performed by the 22-member Chamber Ensemble of the chorus, accompanied by a bluegrass band that will feature Sharp on banjo.
The performance will also have a slightly more theatrical feel to it, with the performers in Depression-era costumes, and some choreography inspired by the movie "O, Brother, Where Art Thou?"
"I've also written an Introit that introduces people to the sound of the piece," Sharp said. "And because bluegrass musicians can be pretty aggressive in their playing, I've written in a passage where each one can have a little solo."
The evening will include a barbecue dinner and a "gospel squares" demonstration - square dancing performed to gospel music.
COME AWAY TO THE SKIES: A High Lonesome Mass
from Tulsa Oratorio Chorus
When: Doors open at 6:45
p.m., concert begins at 7:30
Where: Cain’s Ballroom, 423
N. Main St.
Tickets: $20. 1-866-977-
Original Print Headline: Bluegrass Mass
James D. Watts Jr. 918-581-8478
Tim Sharp, artistic director of the Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, is also a great fan of bluegrass and country music. Courtesy