Choir to premier new choral work by Stephen Platko

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Lewis University Choir to premier new choral work by Stephen Platko

Published: April 8, 2013.

The Lewis University Choir will present the world premiere of Stephen Platko’s Panikhida, the Orthodox Memorial Service, on April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Lockport. The concert will be open to the public without charge.

Stephen Platko, a resident of Plainfield and a graduate of Northwestern University, is a highly acclaimed composer of works for choir, band and orchestra as well as chamber music. His compositions have been featured in previous concerts of the Lewis University Choir, at the Midwest Band and Orchestra Exposition in Chicago, on radio station WFMT, and in concerts and liturgical services throughout the United States. For many years Platko served as choirmaster at St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Joliet.

Platko’s setting of the Panikhida is for a cappella choir in four to eight parts. The English-language text is taken from the Memorial Service of the Eastern Church, which comprises psalms, hymns and litanies. The sung prayers are meant to comfort those remaining behind and to preserve the memory of the departed. Platko’s music is not, however, entirely funereal. Many of the hymns and psalms are joyous and glorious in tone. They were composed expressly for the rich, warm vocal sound of the Lewis University Choir.

The chanter/celebrant will be Father Daniel Torson, CPPS, chaplain and assistant professor of theology at Lewis University. Torson played in the U.S. Air Force Band, in Omaha, Neb., where he was a saxophone soloist with the Concert Band. Prior to priesthood, Torson was a junior high band instructor. At Lewis University, he specializes in teaching liturgy/sacraments and Christian ethics.

Under the direction of Dr. Lawrence Sisk, chairman and professor of music at Lewis University, the Lewis University Choir comprises students, faculty, staff and members of the community. The choir specializes in a cappella sacred music ranging from Renaissance polyphony to music of living composers. Sisk is a well-known exponent of liturgical music, having conducted college and church choirs for more than 40 years. He now serves as choirmaster at St. Athanasios Greek Orthodox Church in Aurora.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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