Artist of the day: Master Chorale of Tampa Bay
The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay has 141 singers, and they are unpaid. In fact, for the first time in the group’s 33-year history, chorus members this season are paying dues of $150 to belong. The income is needed for the chorale to stay afloat in these difficult economic times.
“It was very tough,’’ said conductor James Bass, adding that the chorus gave 15 members scholarships to cover the dues. “But we couldn’t write a ticket for everyone, or else we couldn’t survive. These people are very special because they sing in the chorale because they love it.’’
You can show your support for the Master Chorale this weekend when they team up with the Florida Orchestra for Joseph Haydn's The Creation at 8 p.m. Friday at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Tampa; 8 p.m. Saturday at Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg; and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater. $20-$67. Click here for details.
Bass, 37, became artistic director of the Master Chorale this year, as well as director of choral studies at the University of South Florida. Bass, who previously was director of choral studies at Western Michigan University, has sung The Creation as a soloist — naturally, he is a bass — and as part of a chorus. He loves the work’s classical clarity.
“We live in an HD TV era; we want everything in high definition,’’ he said. “It’s kind of classical music HD, this piece. It’s not muddy; it’s clear, refined and defined. If you don’t like something in it, just wait two or three minutes, you’re going to get something different. You get a beautiful aria, you get a duet, you get a chorus."