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Drake musicians perform Nelson Mass

More than 200 people gathered at St. Ambrose Cathedral in downtown Des Moines Saturday night to listen to a performance of Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Missa in angustiis,” often called, “Nelson Mass.”

The Mass combined the efforts of the Drake choruses and instrumentalists. Under the direction of Aimee Beckman-Collier, the Drake Choir, the Drake Chamber Choir, the Drake Chorale and the Drake University Community Chorus combined their vocal abilities to sing as one voice.

A student-faculty orchestra comprised of students, faculty and area professionals presented the instrumentals. In this arrangement, the professionals and faculty served as the principal players, mentoring student instrumentalists throughout the rehearsal and performance process. In addition, four Drake vocal faculty members made up the featured quartet.

The six-movement piece was composed in 1798 and uses texts from the Ordinary of the Mass, a group of Christian prayers originating in the early 16th century. The piece was performed as an uninterrupted sequence by the choirs, but was originally written for the purpose of amplifying and emphasizing certain points of the liturgy.

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