‘Requiem’ to serve as last major concert for director

The Augusta Choral Society’s next concert will mark the end of an era.

J. Porter Stokes will conduct his last major work as the society’s artistic director with Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutsche Requiem March 18 at Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

 Stokes will retire after the season-ending May concert.

“He’s been conducting for 30 years,” said Carolyn Dolen, the organization’s executive director. “He never has been a local person.”

Porter Stokes directing the Augusta Choral Society. Photo courtesy Augusta Choral Society

The professor emeritus of music at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. has commuted for the weekly rehearsals and scheduled concerts from his South Carolina home.

Stokes invited some of his former students to join with the Augusta Choral Society and The Lyra Vivace Orchestra to sing in the concert, which will be presented in its original German.

A German Requiem, Op. 45 German Ein Deutches Requiem premiered in Vienna in 1867 and “represents Brahm’s most ambitious vocal music,” according to an entry at Britannica.

The requiem includes seven movements. Scholars believe Brahms completed the first two movements in 1861. He composed them to honor his friend and colleague Robert Schumann who died in 1856.

After the death of his mother in February 1865, Brahms was determined to finish the work, Britannica said.

Most requiems are composed for Catholic masses for the dead; however, Brahms used verses from Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible and selected “passages that would not only mourn the dead but also comfort the living” for his requiem, Britannica continued.

Four of the seven movements are for a chorus and orchestra with soloists for the other three. Soprano Tina Milhorn Stallard and Bass Jacob Will join the choral society for the concert.  

Tickets are $35 for adults; $30 for seniors and $15 for students and are available at or at the choral society office at Sacred Heart Cultural Center. For more information call (706) 826-4713

Reflections on Life, Love and Loss through the Scots-Irish Tradition is the choral society’s final concert of the season and is set for May 23 at Sacred Heart.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at Subscribe to the Augusta Good News newsletter here.