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Interlochen Choirs present Jorja Fleezanis memorial concert in Traverse City

Interlochen Center for the Arts
Interlochen Arts Academy choral students perform in May 2022

The Interlochen Arts Academy Concert Choir, Interlochen Community Choir and guest musicians perform at Grace Episcopal Church Friday.

On Friday evening, Interlochen Choirs will present a memorial concert celebrating the life of violinist Jorja Fleezanis.

Fleezanis, an Interlochen alumna and faculty member, died unexpectedly last September.

The Interlochen Arts Academy Concert Choir will be joined by members of the newly-formed Interlochen Community Choir as well as a chamber orchestra of Interlochen Arts Academy student musicians.

Guest soloists are soprano Laura Osgood Brown, baritone Kyle Ferrill and organist Thomas Bara.

The musicians will perform the Requiem by Gabriel Fauré.

Kyle Ferrill said he's looking forward to performing the baritone solo in this piece.

"The Fauré Requiem is such a masterpiece," he explained. "It's so directly expressive and so evocative of the text that it speaks directly to my heart."

 Interlochen Arts Academy choir students rehearse in Dec. 2022
Interlochen Arts Academy choir students rehearse in Dec. 2022

Jason Hallowbard is Vice Provost of Academic & Artistic Education and Interim Director of Choirs at Interlochen Center for the Arts. He will conduct Friday's performance.

Like Ferrill, Hallowbard said that the Fauré Requiem is an emotional experience.

"It's so moving and gentle in its approach to the very big issue of death," he explained.

When Hallowbard selected the Fauré Requiem last August, he originally asked Fleezanis to perform with the orchestra and play the piece's iconic solo violin part.

Following Fleezanis's death in September, Hallowbard kept the Requiem on the schedule. Interlochen Arts Academy student Sabine Stern will now be the the solo violinist.

"I'll miss seeing Jorja in the orchestra," Hallowbard said. "I think she would be so proud of these students and their approach to this piece, especially the student violin soloist."

Friday's memorial concert will be presented at Grace Episcopal Church in Traverse City at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Dr. Amanda Sewell is IPR's music director.