Baroque, Barocco, Barock
"Liberty-based vocal specialist Arnold Epley is the artistic director and conductor of Musica Vocale who plans this group’s intriguing concerts. Trilla Ray-Carter is the artistic director of the Kansas City Baroque Consortium. We owe thanks to them and to their performers for bringing these rarely done Baroque works to our ears, and the concert earned a standing ovation from the capacity crowd."
“We’re singing with 22 or 23 people,” Epley said. “It’s a smaller ensemble, but they’re quicker. One of the tasks of choral conducting is the constant training of the singers to sing well. There’s a way in which a choral rehearsal should have some of the elements of a voice lesson. What we’re trying to do is get the singers to be more and more healthy, more and more skillful, freer and flexible, so they can sing a variety of styles.”
Voices of Women
"The first concert in their ninth season proved to be both educational and enjoyable. Most women composers and their pieces go unknown or underplayed throughout history. Musica Vocale called attention to a diverse group of women composers, encompassing different styles of music and text in their program. A charming venue, the Westport Presbyterian Church had great acoustics for a choir concert, it was not too boomy like some churches are, which positively suited and portrayed Musica Vocale’s “Voices of Women” concert."
"Arnold Epley, Kansas City's beloved choral music genius, recently had a birthday and he's giving himself a present of music by Bach, Mozart and Brahms. You're invited to join Arnold and his ensemble, Musica Vocale, for some amazing music, including one of Brahms choral masterworks, the Alto Rhapsody, this afternoon at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral."
"Arnold Epley asked an interesting question during Musica Vocale’s Sunday afternoon concert at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. Which century do we as adults belong to? Is it the one in which we were born or currently live? Mirroring musically (and thankfully less repugnantly) the rhetoric of some faded, ahistorical notion of making America great “again” versus an uncertain future of paying for programs echoed within the musical selections by Stewart Duncan, Melissa Dunphy, Aaron Copland, and Zoltán Kodály."
Foundations and Cornerstones
"All of the works on Musica Vocale's “Foundations and Cornerstones” utilize extensive counterpart and constantly moving vocal parts, offering a tremendous challenge to a choir up to the rigors of the writing. The choir, under the direction of Arnold Epley, was up to the task, rendering fine performances in keeping with its tradition of vocal excellence."
The Struggle to be Heard
"The thirty-voice Musica Vocale has made a specialty of presenting finely tuned choral/orchestral and a cappella music not often performed by larger ensembles. The ensemble's work is characterized by precision and a beautifully blended sound balance, both of which were on display in this concert, "The Struggle to be Heard." Conductor Arnold Epley led the chorus through a series of pieces by well-known Thomas Tallis and J.S. Bach, paired with stellar examples from contemporaneous composers, whose work often lies in the shadow of their more famous compatriots."