Tallahassee’s Lincoln High School Chorus has had a close connection with a true rock and roll legend for several years. Now, that legend’s wife is allowing the school’s chorus to perform a world premiere of her latest composition.
Lincoln High School Chorus Director Scott Leaman said he’s long admired the Who’s guitarist and leading light Pete Townshend.
“I’ve been such a huge fan of the Who for so long and particularly Pete Townshend. I tell my music theory students all the time that I think he’s not a songwriter, he’s a composer, when you look at big things that he’s done, whether it’s ‘Tommy’ or ‘Quadrophenia.’ And this spring I saw lots of social media posts from Pete about a piece called the ‘Animal Requiem’ that his wife Rachel Fuller had wrote.”
Leaman already had a personal relationship with Townshend, dating back to 2014 when the Lincoln Chorus staged “The Who’s Tommy” and Townshend himself sent congratulations.
“So I messaged Rachel and she graciously sent me pdfs of the entire score and said we were free to use this. She’s not publishing this for money, she just wants people to perform it.”
In fact, Leaman said this will be the first public performance of this particular variation of the work.
“The original version that Rachel wrote was with full orchestration, but she also did a reduced orchestration version and this will actually be the world premiere of that reduced orchestration.”
That premiere coming up at seven the evening of Tuesday, February 11th.
“It’s at Faith Presbyterian. We have organ, flute, French horn; we have 9 or 10 pieces in it and it’s really beautiful!”
“Animal Requiem” is essentially an homage to lost pets. So Leaman said it seemed appropriate to make the production a fundraiser for a cause that involves animals.
“Big Bend Hospice has a program called Pet Peace of Mind and we’re going to raise money for that program. It provides resources for people who are dealing with illnesses who maybe can’t afford to take care of their animals, or there may be family members who are taking care of their animals and don’t know that there are illnesses or things they need to think about with the animals. So Big Bend Hospice is going to pair with us. And the concert is free, but we’re going to collect donations at the door and hope we can do something substantial for them.”
And how many times can Tallahasseeans say there’s a world premiere of a major choral work happening in their hometown?