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Carnegie Hall Presents

Orchestra of St. Luke’s

J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
Thursday, April 7, 2022 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Bernard Labadie by Dario Acosta
J. S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion is a deeply moving musical meditation on the last days of Jesus’s life. Expressive arias, highly dramatic choral writing, and nuanced instrumental passages come together in a towering masterpiece that prompted Leonard Bernstein to say, “There is nothing like it in all of music.” Bernard Labadie, one of the preeminent Bach conductors, is on the podium for this performance that features a cast of outstanding singers, brilliant choirs, and the superb Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Performers

Orchestra of St. Luke's
Bernard Labadie, Principal Conductor
Julian Prégardien, Tenor (Evangelist)
Philippe Sly, Bass-Baritone (Jesus)
Carolyn Sampson, Soprano
Hugh Cutting, Countertenor
Joshua Blue, Tenor
Matthew Brook, Bass-Baritone
La Chapelle de Québec
Handel and Haydn Society Chorus
The Boys of the Saint Thomas Choir

Program

J. S. BACH St. Matthew Passion

Event Duration

The program will last approximately three hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.

This concert is made possible, in part, by an endowment fund for choral music established by S. Donald Sussman in memory of Judith Arron and Robert Shaw.

At a Glance

J. S. Bach’s setting of the Passion according to St. Matthew is considered one of his greatest works as well as one of the greatest works in the Western classical music canon. A well-known example of an oratorio Passion, a popular sacred genre in the 17th and 18th centuries, the St. Matthew Passion depicts the final days of Jesus Christ, from the Last Supper until his Crucifixion, and was written to be performed as part of Good Friday services. But the emotional scope of the St. Matthew Passion reaches far deeper than a single belief or doctrine, and exceeds the simple storytelling employed by the Baroque oratorio Passions of the time (and earlier), including Bach’s own St. John Passion. A devout Lutheran whose decades-long career composing sacred music was not just a source of income but also a joyful expression of his spiritual beliefs, Bach infused this telling of the Passion of Jesus Christ from the Gospel according to St. Matthew with equal parts reverence, devotion, humanity, and introspection, and created an innovative, masterful score.

Bios

Orchestra of St. Luke's

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) was formed in 1979 when the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, founded in 1974, expanded to perform orchestral works at Caramoor Center for Music and  ...

The Orchestra of St. Luke’s (OSL) was formed in 1979 when the St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, founded in 1974, expanded to perform orchestral works at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, where OSL remains as the center’s summer orchestra-in-residence today. Each season, the orchestra performs at New York’s major concert venues, playing a wide range of musical styles and genres and collaborating with artists who range from Renée Fleming and Joshua Bell to Bono and Metallica. The orchestra has participated in 118 recordings, four of which have won Grammy Awards; has commissioned more than 50 new works; and has given more than 175 world, US, and New York premieres. In September 2018, world-renowned conductor of Baroque and classical repertoire Bernard Labadie joined OSL as principal conductor, continuing the orchestra’s long tradition of working with champions of historical performance practice.

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Bernard Labadie

Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as a leading conductor of Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work as founding conductor of Les Violons du ...

Bernard Labadie has established himself worldwide as a leading conductor of Baroque and Classical repertoire, a reputation closely tied to his work as founding conductor of Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec. With these two ensembles, he regularly tours Canada, the US, and Europe in such major venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican, the Concertgebouw, and at the Salzburg Festival, among others.

Mr. Labadie has become a regular presence on the podiums of leading North American orchestras, including the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; the Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Atlanta, and Toronto symphony orchestras; the San Francisco and Houston symphonies; Orchestre symphonique de Montréal; and Miami’s New World Symphony. An eminent opera conductor, he has served as artistic director of Opéra de Québec and Opéra de Montréal. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut during the 2009–2010 season with Mozart’s The Magic Flute, a work he also led at the Cincinnati Opera in 2011 and with which he made his 2017 debut at the Canadian Opera Company. Other highlights include Handel’s Orlando with Glimmerglass Opera, Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and Mozart’s Lucio Silla with Santa Fe Opera.

Mr. Labadie’s extensive discography comprises many critically acclaimed recordings on the Dorian, ATMA, and Virgin Classics labels, including a collaborative recording of Mozart’s Requiem with Les Violons du Roy and La Chapelle de Québec, both of which received Canada’s Juno Award. Additional recordings include C. P. E. Bach’s complete cello concertos with Truls Mørk and Les Violons du Roy, and Haydn’s piano concertos with Marc-André Hamelin.

In 2016, Mr. Labadie received the Samuel de Champlain award in Paris. He was honored with a 2005 appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada, and his home province named him a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Québec in 2006. He is the Orchestra of St. Luke’s fifth titled conductor, joining the distinguished roster of Pablo Heras-Casado (2011–2017), Roger Norrington (1990–1994), Charles Mackerras (1998–2001), and Donald Runnicles (2001–2007).

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Julian Prégardien

Julian Prégardien was born in Frankfurt in 1984 and received his earliest music training in the choirs of Limburg Cathedral. After studying in Freiburg and joining the academy of the  ...

Julian Prégardien was born in Frankfurt in 1984 and received his earliest music training in the choirs of Limburg Cathedral. After studying in Freiburg and joining the academy of the Aix-en-Provence Festival, he was a member of the Frankfurt Opera ensemble from 2009 to 2013. At the same time, he developed an international career as a concert performer. Today, the tenor is an outstanding representative of the younger generation of singers.

Mr. Prégardien has appeared at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, the Hamburg and Bavarian state operas, and the Opéra Comique in Paris. In 2018, he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival as Narraboth in R. Strauss’s Salome with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. In 2019, he made his debut as Tamino in a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Berlin State Opera under the baton of Alondra de la Parra.

Recent highlights include concert appearances with the Munich Philharmonic, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Munich Radio Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and Bavarian Radio Chorus. In 2019, Mr. Prégardien was Artiste étoile at the Mozartfest Würzburg, where he performed with the Freiburger Barockorchester and the Bamberg Symphony, among others. In 2020, he made his debut with The Cleveland Orchestra, performing Felix Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang under Franz Welser-Möst. During the 2020–2021 season, he performed with the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble under Thomas Hengelbrock, Dresden Philharmonic under Cornelius Meister, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg under Kent Nagano, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Gotthold Schwarz, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia under Sir Antonio Pappano, Ensemble Pygmalion under Raphaël Pichon, Concentus Musicus under Stephan Gottfried, and Les Talens Lyriques under the baton of Christophe Rousset.

Mr. Prégardien records exclusively for the Alpha Classics label. He is a professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, a member of the Schumann Network, and the artistic director of the Brentano Academy in Aschaffenburg.

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Philippe Sly

French-Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly is already gaining international prestige for his tone and stage presence. He is a first-prize winner of the prestigious Concours musical ...

French-Canadian bass-baritone Philippe Sly is already gaining international prestige for his tone and stage presence. He is a first-prize winner of the prestigious Concours musical international de Montréal and a grand prize winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, singing repertoire that includes Mozart, J. S. Bach, Handel, Stravinsky, and Wagner. Recently, he was awarded Concert of the Year in Romantic, Post-Romantic, and Impressionist Music at the 16th annual ceremony of the Prix Opus in Québec.

Mr. Sly’s recent engagements include appearances at the Opéra national de Paris as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte conducted by Philippe Jordan—the same role that served as his debut—and in his role debut as Zebul in Claus Guth’s production of Jephtha conducted by William Christie. He also appeared at Opéra National de Lyon in a new production of Don Giovanni. In concert, he debuted with the Minnesota Orchestra in Fauré’s Requiem and with the Academy of Ancient Music in Bach’s St. John Passion, both conducted by Bernard Labadie. With the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, he sang Nielsen’s Symphony No. 3 as well as songs by Rachmaninoff, Grieg, and Sibelius.

Additional concert engagements include Narbal in Berlioz’s Les Troyens with Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and John Nelson (recorded by Warner/Erato) and Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and The Philadelphia Orchestra. He debuted with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Jaap van Zweden, and returned to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with Fondation Arte Musica for a duo recital of Schubert lieder with guitarist John Charles Britton. In summer 2017, he made an acclaimed debut at the Aix-en-Provence Festival as the title role in a new production of Don Giovanni.

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Carolyn Sampson

Equally at home on the concert and opera stages, soprano Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable success in the UK as well as throughout Europe and in the US. Her operatic roles have included ...

Equally at home on the concert and opera stages, soprano Carolyn Sampson has enjoyed notable success in the UK as well as throughout Europe and in the US. Her operatic roles have included the title role in Semele and Pamina in The Magic Flute for English National Opera, various roles in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen for Glyndebourne Festival Opera (released on DVD), and both Anne Truelove in The Rake’s Progress and Mélisande in Pelléas et Mélisande in Sir David McVicar’s productions for Scottish Opera. Internationally, she has appeared at Opéra national de Paris, Opéra de Lille, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier, and Opéra national du Rhin. She also sang the title role in Lully’s Psyché for the Boston Early Music Festival, which was released on CD and was subsequently nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008.

In Europe, her engagements have included concert appearances with the Bergen and Rotterdam philharmonic orchestras, Freiburger Barockorchester, Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, and WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, as well as regular appearances at the BBC Proms.

In the US, Ms. Sampson has appeared as soloist with the Boston, Cincinnati, and Detroit symphony orchestras; San Francisco Symphony; The Philadelphia Orchestra; and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and is a regular guest at the Mostly Mozart Festival. Most recently, she performed and recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra. In October 2013, she made her Carnegie Hall debut with a sold-out performance in Weill Recital Hall, and she has also given recitals at Lincoln Center and San Francisco Performances.

Upcoming engagements include Schumann’s Genoveva with the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra; performances with the BBC Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; and tours with Bach Collegium Japan and the Handel and Haydn Society. Recital highlights include appearances at Wigmore Hall (London), the Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), de Singel (Antwerp), and Pierre Boulez Saal (Berlin).

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Hugh Cutting

Hugh Cutting is currently a member of the Royal College of Music’s International Opera Studio. He is a former choral scholar of St. John’s College, Cambridge, from which he ...

Hugh Cutting is currently a member of the Royal College of Music’s International Opera Studio. He is a former choral scholar of St. John’s College, Cambridge, from which he graduated with a first-class honors degree in music, and a vocal masters graduate of the Royal College of Music (RCM), where he was a Leverhulme Arts Scholar. In fall 2021, he won the Kathleen Ferrier Award, the first countertenor to do so.

Recent and upcoming concert engagements include Purcell’s Odes for a Queen with The English Concert and Kristian Bezuidenhout, Bach’s B-Minor Mass with Collegium Vocale Gent and Philippe Herreweghe on tour in Europe, Bach’s St. John Passion with Polyphony and Stephen Layton, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Graham Ross, Monteverdi’s Vespers and motets with La Nuova Musica and David Bates, Handel’s Messiah with Instruments of Time & Truth and Edward Higginbottom, Bach passions and cantatas with Oxford Bach Soloists, Bach’s Ascension Oratorio with the RCM Baroque Orchestra and Ashley Solomon, and A Sephardic Journey in Music at Kettle’s Yard New Music Concert Series in Cambridge. Recent recital work includes a program about vocal identity, voice loss, and terminal health conditions for SoundVoice UK in Snape Maltings; the program will be repeated this May at King’s Place with Lucy Crowe and Roderick Williams.

Mr. Cutting’s opera roles include Arsace in Handel’s Partenope for Le Jardin des Voix Academy with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie; Bertarido in Handel’s Rodelinda for the RCM International Opera Studio; the title role in Handel’s Tolomeo, the Boy in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin, and Adroncico in Handel’s Tamerlano with the RCM’s Opera Scenes series; and Ottone in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and Daemon in Tim Watt’s Kepler’s Trial at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. His recordings include Purcell’s Royal Odes with The King’s Consort and Robert King, and German Baroque arias with Iestyn Davies and Fretwork for Signum Classics.

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Joshua Blue

During the 2022–2023 season, British-American tenor Joshua Blue makes his role debut as Rodolfo in La bohème in a return to Opera Philadelphia. This season, he makes debuts at ...

During the 2022–2023 season, British-American tenor Joshua Blue makes his role debut as Rodolfo in La bohème in a return to Opera Philadelphia. This season, he makes debuts at the Metropolitan Opera as Peter in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Los Angeles Opera singing the Evangelist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion conducted by James Conlon, Opera Philadelphia as the Duke of Mantua in Rigoletto led by Corrado Rovaris, Virginia Opera as Loge in Jonathan Dove’s reduction of Das Rheingold conducted by Adam Turner, and the Berkshire Opera Festival as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni led by Brian Garman. In addition, he sings Handel’s Messiah with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in Santa Fe, New Mexico; returns to Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as Tamino in The Magic Flute and to Carnegie Hall for Handel’s Messiah with Oratorio Society of New York under Kent Tritle; and performs Taneyev’s Reading of a Psalm with the American Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Blue has performed with the National Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Opera, Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival, Florida Orchestra, Cleveland Chamber Orchestra, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Austin Opera, Oratorio Society of New York, and Music Sacra, working with conductors who include Gianandrea Noseda, Eun Sun Kim, Fabio Luisi, James Gaffigan, and Leonard Slatkin, among others. He appeared with New York Festival of Song on a recording of Moravec’s Sanctuary Road, which was nominated for a 2021 Grammy Award.

In 2020, Mr. Blue was the inaugural recipient of the Lotos Foundation’s James McCracken and Sandra Warfield Opera Prize; in addition, he was a semifinalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2018, and received the Ellen Lopin Blair award in the 2017 Oratorio Society of New York solo competition. He holds degrees from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and The Juilliard School, and is an alumnus of the Cafritz Young Artist program with the Washington National Opera.

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Matthew Brook

Matthew Brook leapt to fame with his 2007 Gramophone Award–winning recording of Handel’s Messiah with the Dunedin Consort, followed by critically acclaimed recordings of ...

Matthew Brook leapt to fame with his 2007 Gramophone Award–winning recording of Handel’s Messiah with the Dunedin Consort, followed by critically acclaimed recordings of Handel’s Acis and Galatea and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. He has appeared as a soloist throughout Europe, Australia, North and South America, and Asia, and has worked with many of the world’s leading conductors.

Mr. Brook’s recent and upcoming highlights encompass operas and concert works from the Baroque to the 20th century. His performances include Purcell’s The Fairy Queen and Dido and Aeneas with the Handel and Haydn Society, Haydn’s The Creation and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Mozart’s Requiem with the Fryderyk Chopin Institute in Warsaw. He has given recent performances of many works by Handel, including Ariodante with the Staatstheater Stuttgart and on tour with The English Concert and Boston Baroque, Argante in Rinaldo with Ópera de Oviedo, Claudio in Agrippina at Teatro de la Maestranza, and Messiah with Les Violons du Roy in Québec and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. Likewise, his Bach performances include the St. John Passion with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, a tour of the St. Matthew Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and with Gli Angeli Genève, the Magnificat with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and cantatas on tour with the Monteverdi Choir and Sir John Eliot Gardiner as well as with the Nederlandse Bachvereniging and Early Music Vancouver. His other appearances include Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Tippett’s A Child of Our Time at the Festival Saint-Denis, and the roles of Herod and Father in Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sir Andrew Davis.

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La Chapelle de Québec

Created in 1985 by Founding Conductor and Music Director Bernard Labadie, La Chapelle de Québec is one of North America’s premier voice ensembles. The group is made up ...

Created in 1985 by Founding Conductor and Music Director Bernard Labadie, La Chapelle de Québec is one of North America’s premier voice ensembles. The group is made up exclusively of professional singers who are handpicked from all over Canada. This unique chamber choir specializes in the choral-orchestral repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. The choir performs regularly with its other half, the chamber orchestra Les Violons du Roy, and as a guest choir with some of the finest orchestras in North America. Its interpretations of the oratorios, requiems, masses, and cantatas of J. S. Bach, Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, as well as Fauré and Duruflé, are frequently hailed in the Canadian and international press.

La Chapelle de Québec is heard regularly at Palais Montcalm in Québec City and Maison symphonique in Montreal, as well as at Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, at Carnegie Hall with Les Violons du Roy and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and in Ottawa with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. The choir’s concerts are often broadcast by the CBC and Radio-Canada in Canada and by National Public Radio in the United States.

La Chapelle de Québec is also known for its role in Chemin de Noël, an annual event that brings together music lovers from throughout the Québec City region every December. La Chapelle de Québec would like to thank the following partners: Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

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Handel and Haydn Society Chorus

Boston’s Grammy-winning Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) performs Baroque and Classical music with a freshness, a vitality, and a creativity that inspires all ages. H+H has been ...

Boston’s Grammy-winning Handel and Haydn Society (H+H) performs Baroque and Classical music with a freshness, a vitality, and a creativity that inspires all ages. H+H has been captivating audiences for 207 consecutive seasons (the most of any performing arts organization in the United States), speaking to its singular success at converting new audiences to this extraordinary music, generation after generation.

H+H performed the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s Messiah in its first concert in 1815, gave the US premiere in 1818, and ever since has been both a musical and a civic leader in the Boston community. During the Civil War, H+H gave numerous concerts in support of the Union Army, and on January 1, 1863, H+H performed at the Grand Jubilee Concert celebrating the enactment of the Emancipation Proclamation. Two years later, H+H performed at the memorial service for Abraham Lincoln.

Today, H+H’s orchestra and chorus delight more than 50,000 listeners annually with a nine-week subscription series at Symphony Hall and other leading venues. Through the Karen S. and George D. Levy Education Program, H+H supports seven youth choirs of singers in grades 2–12, and provides thousands of complimentary tickets to students and communities throughout Boston, ensuring the joy of music is accessible to all. H+H’s free community concerts include an annual commemoration of the original 1863 Emancipation Proclamation concert on December 31, in collaboration with the Museum of African American History.

The artistic director of the Handel and Haydn Society is Harry Christophers, who is also founding artistic director of The Sixteen in London. Under Mr. Christophers’s leadership, H+H has released 15 CDs on the Coro label, and has toured nationally and internationally.

In all these ways, H+H fulfills its mission to inspire the intellect, touch the heart, elevate the soul, and connect all of us with our shared humanity through transformative experiences with Baroque and Classical music.

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The Boys of the Saint Thomas Choir

The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys is considered by many to be the leading ensemble of its kind in the Anglican choral tradition in the United States. The choir performs regularly with ...

The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys is considered by many to be the leading ensemble of its kind in the Anglican choral tradition in the United States. The choir performs regularly with Orchestra of St. Luke’s as part of its own concert series. Its primary mission is to provide music for five choral services each week. Live webcasts of all choral services and further information concerning recordings, tours, and concerts given by the choir may be found at saintthomaschurch.org.

Alongside its choral services and concert series spanning the past four decades, the choir has toured throughout the US and Europe with performances at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London; King’s College, Cambridge; Windsor; Edinburgh; St. Albans; the Aldeburgh Festival; and the Vatican. In February 2012, the boys of the choir traveled to Dresden to give the premiere of Lera Auerbach’s Dresden Requiem with the Dresden Staatskapelle in the Frauenkirche and at the Semperoper.

In addition to the annual performances of Handel’s Messiah, concerts at Saint Thomas Church have included requiems by Fauré, Brahms, Mozart, Duruflé, Victoria, and Howells; J. S. Bach’s two passions, Mass in B Minor, and motets; the lesser-known St. John Passion of C. P. E. Bach; the US premiere of John Tavener’s Mass; the US premiere of Nico Muhly’s My Days with viol consort Fretwork; Handel’s Israel in Egypt; a program of Handel and Purcell’s Baroque masters conducted by John Scott and Richard Egarr along with Juilliard 415; and MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross, conducted by David Hill. In 2014, the boy choristers performed in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion at the Park Avenue Armory as part of Lincoln Center’s White Light Festival with the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of Peter Sellars and conductor Sir Simon Rattle. In September 2016, a special concert in memory of John Scott was performed with Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle.

The gentlemen of the Saint Thomas Choir are professional singers; the boy choristers attend the Saint Thomas Choir School.

 

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