HOLMES BEACH -- The Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra will perform Hector Berlioz's "L'enfance du Christ (The Childhood of Christ)" this upcoming weekend with the aid of five soloists.
The oratorio by the late French composer will be performed at 2 p.m. Sunday at the CrossPointe Fellowship Church in Holmes Beach.
"This is such an unusual concert," AMICCO Executive Director Jeanie Pickwick said Monday. "It's about the childhood of Christ and it's not done very often because it's rather complicated."
Pickwick expressed her excitement over Sunday's concert, which kicks off the beginning of AMICCO's new concert season. There will be three other concerts by the AMICCO over the next several months.
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"It's the first time that it will be done in the Tampa Bay/southwest Florida area," Pickwick said of "L'enfance du Christ." "Who knows when it will happen again? And then it requires an extremely heavy amount of vocal soloists. We've been able to get some absolutely amazing voices."
According to a release, the voices Pickwick spoke of belong to: Michelle Giglio, a soprano who has toured and recorded in France and throughout Europe (role of Mary); Daniel Gerdes, a tenor who has performed with the New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera and Florida State University Symphony (role of Narrator); Luis González, a baritone who has performed with the South Florida Lyric Opera, the Opera Tampa Singers and the St. Petersburg Opera (role of Joseph); Jason Stearns, a bass who has appeared with the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Savonlinna Festival, and the Los Angeles Opera (role of Herod); and Daniel A. Hoffman, a baritone who has performed with opera companies and symphonies throughout the United States (roles of Polydorus and Father)
"I'm just stunned that we got some of these people," Pickwick said, adding that some of the soloists' singing has brought tears to her eyes. "To put together this piece -- which demands a full orchestra and chorus -- and then to get all five of these great stars at one time together, it's a dream team."
The soloists are paid for by a $5,000 grant from the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce's Trolley Grant Program, which gives excess revenues from advertisements on the island trolley to area non- and not-for-profit organizations.
"We were just thrilled to see what they were wanting to use the money for," Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce president Deb Wing said Monday afternoon.
According to Wing, between 13-19 organizations apply each time for a grant from the chamber of commerce.
For this particular grant, Wing said many organizations applied with some really great programs in mind -- but AMICCO's was "unique and different." She has also seen Gerdes, one of the soloists, perform before.
"I saw him in 'Pirates of Penzance.' It was an AMICCO opera and he was fabulous," she said. "So when they said they were bringing him back, I was excited."
Those interested in purchasing tickets to see "L'enfance du Christ" can visit www.amicco.org, visit the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce located at 5313 Gulf Drive N., Holmes Beach, or call Pickwick at 941-795-2370.
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. Follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.