George Mason Unites to Bring Bernstein

Posted: February 7, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Michelle Nery

Rarely performed across the nation due to the enormous scope of the piece, Leonard Bernstein’s MASS, A Theater Piece for Singers, Dancers, and Players, will be performed at George Mason this Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9 at 8 p.m. in the Concert Hall.

More than 150 student, faculty, and community performers from the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA); Departments of Music, Dance, and Theater; the George Mason Opera Program; the Annandale High School Treble Choir, and guest soloist Douglas Webster, performing as the Celebrant, collaborated to produce the MASS. Karen Studd, associate professor of dance, codirected the piece with Webster and choreographed the production with dance instructor Boris Willis. Stanley Engebretson, associate professor of music, is the conductor, and Rick Davis, associate dean of CVPA, is the stage director.

Leonard Bernstein, an American composer, conductor, and pianist was commissioned by Jacqueline Onassis to write the piece dedicated to her late husband for the opening of the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 1971. MASS was last performed in the Washington, D.C., area in 1981 to commemorate the work’s tenth anniversary.

The chamber singer and dancers began work on MASS last fall and the principal cast of the street chorus began their work over the winter holiday. The remaining ensembles have worked hard from the beginning of the school year to coordinate the project. “This is a rare opportunity to produce such a major work, and it couldn’t have happened without the tremendous support and cooperation between all of the arts divisions within our new CVPA,” says Engebretson.

Bernstein’s MASS tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors. Visit for details.

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