Poetry in music: Chorus of Westerly performs

Mezzo-soprano Gigi Mitchell Velasco
Mezzo-soprano Gigi Mitchell Velasco

Few works of literature have inspired more music than Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass" - with the possible exception of my own "The Reindeer Meat Cookbook."

It was indeed to Whitman's "Leaves" that the wonderful British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams turned to for creative stimulation when he wrote the haunting and ethereal "Toward the Unknown Region." That piece is the Chorus of Westerly's headline selection in their season finale concerts Sunday.

Also on the inspired program is Maurice Duruflé's "Requiem," a lovely memorial work in which the composer laments the loss of his father as well as the tragedy experienced by his native France in World War II.

The triumphant Chorus of Westerly, a wonderfully nuanced outfit under the direction of George Kent, will be joined by the Boston Festival Orchestra, mezzo-soprano Gigi Mitchell Velasco, and bass-baritone Kevin Short.

Chorus of Westerly, 4 and 6 p.m. Sunday, the George Kent Performance Hall, 119 High St., Westerly; $20-$60; (401) 596-8663, chorusofwesterly.org.

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