The Memorial Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir

This season features a collaboration with the The Memorial Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir, led by Ray McDonald, Director of Music and Organist.

Michael John Trotta’s Magnificat is a 40-minute work for choir, soprano and bass soli, and orchestra. This seven-movement work delivers a tapestry of melodic richness that powerfully portrays the anticipation of the wonder and mystery of the birth of a savior.

From their director:

The Memorial Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir has a tradition of singing larger works with chamber orchestra twice each year during Advent and Lent. On Palm Sunday we have sung the Requiems of Faure’ and Rutter and the Dubois “Seven Last Words”. For the past two years, we have presented the Trotta “Seven Last Words”.

During Advent, we have sung the Magnificats of Vivaldi and Pergolesi, as well as Bach cantatas and settings of the Gloria. When I learned the Michael was composing a new setting of the Magnificat, I was excited and knew that I wanted to support it. I learned of the possibility of collaboration on the website and we are proud to be a part of it. Most exciting and unexpected is that Michael will be traveling to Florida and will conduct the premier at our church on the fourth Sunday of Advent, December 22, 2019.

Our choir of thirty has many singers who have been members for 25-30 years. We also have a number of younger voices, including church members and students and faculty from adjacent Flagler College. We are working diligently to learn the music and so grateful to be included as collaborators.

Ray McDonald has been a church organist since the age of 15, serving Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian congregations. He has served as Director of Music and Organist at Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Augustine since 2006 after holding the position of Organist and Choir Director at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville for twelve years.

Ray’s experience also includes accompanying choral groups and soloists. he was accompanist for the University Chorus and the Men’s Glee Club at the University of Georgia, where he earned a Bachelor of Music in Church Music, cum laude. He most recently served as accompanist for the St. Augustine Community Chorus and sings with the St. Augustine Chamber Singers.

After college, Ray worked as an apprentice at the Flentrop Organ Company in the Netherlands. He later received a B. S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech and had a successful career as a manufacturing engineer with Johnson and Johnson. Combining his music and engineering skills, he managed the restoration of the Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ at Memorial Presbyterian Church, completed in 2012.

Commissioned by a consortium of 8 choirs for simultaneous nationwide premieres during the 2019-2020 season, Michael John Trotta’s Magnificat is a 40-minute work for choir, soprano and bass soli, and orchestra. This seven-movement setting delivers a tapestry of melodic richness that powerfully portrays the anticipation of the wonder and mystery of the birth of a savior.

Hear Samples and Get a Preview Score

Magnificat for Choir and Orchestra

The text of the work is part of the Luke infancy narrative taken from the Visitation. It has a long musical and liturgical history with notable settings by Vivaldi, Bach, and more recently by John Rutter. Additional texts were selected from the medieval period and Mary’s response at the Annunciation. Despite its history of bring on of the oldest Christian hymns the text is still part of daily devotional use around the world today.

Hear Samples and Get a Preview Score
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Like to take part in the next consortium?

Following the success and Carnegie Hall debut of Seven Last Words, plans are currently under way for my next major work, Magnificat for the ’19-20 season. Applications are now being accepted for choirs looking to take part in this new work. Seven organizations will be chosen as sponsors and will receive exclusive rights to premiere the work during the ’19-’20 season.

Tell me more about your vision.