'Tomorrow's Talent Today' featured at RICCO spring concert
Both community members and professionals will participate in “Tomorrow’s Talent Today,” the March 25 spring concert presented by the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra (RICCO).
The RICCO chorale is made up of 90 community members, which conductor Dr. Edward Markward said “come from all walks of life.” On the other hand, the orchestra includes distinguished members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. The RICCO holds three major concerts a year, in December, March and June.
Markward has been a conductor for 50 years and has worked with RICCO for the past 30 years. At eight years old, he learned how to play the trumpet and took lessons throughout the years on other instruments including the piano. He said that it’s been amazing to work with both the chorale and orchestra and he’s had the chance to see it grow over time.
Markward explained that RICCO works on more difficult and contemporary music now than when he first took over. He enjoys conducting work by local composers and described the picking process as a “balancing act,” choosing pieces carefully. By choosing a piece by Scituate native Roger Chicy, musicians have the opportunity to receive feedback from the actual composer, unlike a piece by Mozart. He believes the three pieces being performed are very accessible to any audience.
The concert will feature “I Dream A World,” based upon the well-known poem by Langston Hughes, by internationally acclaimed composer Cichy. This piece was commissioned for the 60th anniversary of RICCO’s founding. Another piece that will be featured is “Mass in Time of War” by Joseph Haydn, which will showcase soloists who won the RICCO’s 9th annual Collegiate Voice Competition.
RICCO chose four students out of 20 candidates from local institutions in Rhode Island and Massachusetts at a competition that took place at Music Mansion in the East Side of Providence. These include Mahoko Taniguchi, a soprano from Berklee, Wei En Chan, a countertenor from New England Conservatory, Matthew Chastain, a baritone from University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as Kyle Buonfiglio, a tenor from Rhode Island College.
Buonfiglio, originally from Cranston, is currently attending RIC as a second-semester sophomore with a double major in music performance and computer science. He has been singing since fifth grade, which is when he started basic chorus, and then started getting serious about performing in 10th grade. In addition to singing, he also plays an array of instruments, including the piano, guitar, bass guitar and the banjo.
When he first entered the Collegiate Voice Competition, he didn’t know what to expect since he tries not to get his hopes up at any audition. However, when he won he was so excited to be a part of something so prominent in the state. Although he held a job working at a professional theatre company last summer, he said it doesn’t own up to a professional gig like this.
Although not everyone is a fan of this type of music, Buonfiglio suggests to “get out of your comfort zone” and support the people who are a part of it. He said that the space they’re singing and performing in is beautiful and the acoustics are amazing, so even if someone isn’t a true music lover, it’ll be interesting to hear how the show sounds in the church.
“[People] should listen to [this] type of music because it kind of does something to your brain, it’s weird,” Buonfiglio said. “This music actually means a lot and you can connect to it very easily as long as you understand it.”
Buonfiglio hopes people will come out and support college students, since it’s such a great opportunity that they get to perform in a professional setting with Markward. He described Markward as one of the greatest musicians and teachers he’s met.
Markward believes people should support these musicians since they are just getting their feet in the professional world. He suggests to musicians that in order to achieve success, it’s important to always keep reaching for your goals.
“I just heard this not too long ago, ‘Hard work won’t ensure a big success, but it makes a big success possible,’” Markward said. “Work hard, be totally engrossed in the music, and I think if you’re successful every day, that doesn’t mean what size career you might have, but whether you’re doing your best, and then you can feel good at the end of the day.”
The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 25 at 30 Fenner Street in Providence. A reception will be held for the soloists after the show, which the audience is invited to. Cichy will also be signing autographed posters that will be auctioned off. Tickets to the show are $24 to $30 and student tickets are $10. For more information, visit RICCO.org.