Griffin Choral Arts, Griffin Ballet Theatre present “A Mother’s Tears”


The Griffin Choral Arts community chorus, under the direction of Dr. Stephen J. Mulder, will present “A Mother’s Tears” on Friday, March 28, and Saturday, March 29, 2014 at the Griffin Auditorium on 234 E. Taylor Street.

The presentation will feature Welsh Composer Karl Jenkins’ Stabat Mater performed with a professional orchestra and with world-premiere choreography by choreographer Mitch Flanders and the Griffin Ballet Theatre.

Jenkins began his musical career as an oboist in the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. He went on to study music at Cardiff University and then commenced postgraduate studies in London at the Royal Academy of Music.

A Stabat Mater refers to the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ’s mother, during his crucifixion. Composers have created compositions for choral or music surrounding the subject for hundreds of years.

A prior composition of Jenkins’ was showcased in Griffin for a March 2010 chorus and ballet joint performance of Jenkins’ “The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.” At that time, in a letter to the Griffin Daily News, Griffin resident Arthur Hammond stated that the music had been “beautiful beyond words.”

“Stephen and I collaborated on ‘The Armed Man’ a few years ago,” Mitch Flanders, director of the Griffin Ballet Theatre, stated in a recent phone interview with The Grip. “I was approached about a year and a half ago and asked if I wanted to do a collaboration for this particular performance. The chorus and orchestra is pretty set but I still have to come up with the choreography; everything is original.”

Flanders has been creating choreography for eight of the featured songs for the performance with around 28 dancers of various ages participating on stage. The dancers have been preparing to share the stage with the Griffin Choral Arts community chorus, which features around 50 performers at its peak.

“I’m very excited to work with Griffin Choral Arts. This is our second time working with them and it’s always been a pleasure. Working with something about Mary, it kind of brings it closer to home because you can feel more of a woman’s emotion in it,” Ashley Barnes, ballet mistress with Griffin Ballet Theatre, said.

Barnes has been practicing with the Griffin Ballet Theatre dancers over the past few weeks even as some have been absent to concentrate on a performance for the musical “Seussical Jr.”

“Practice has been good. They’ve been working longer than they are used to working, but I think with the excitement of being able to work with a live orchestra, and also with a choir, they know that we don’t usually don’t get this opportunity,” Barnes said.

While Barnes has been working with the dancers Flanders has been hard at work with his own ideas for the choreography that will debut with the performance later this month.

“I keep listening to music and thinking of ideas. The music will really tell you and guide you in the direction that you want to go, and there are some dancer moves in there too,” Flanders said. “I kind of go into it with a blank canvas and when I go into the studio, the choreography just kind of evolves. I have a basic idea of what to do and the steps and know where I want to go and what idea I am trying to convey, but going into the studio one step takes you to another and its almost like a putting together a puzzle.”

Stan Allen’s 15-year-old daughter, Megan Allen, has been one of the dancers rehearsing for the performance. Megan has been dancing for about 10 years and has already performed several times with the Griffin Ballet Theatre.

“They work really hard and really long hours. Megan actually adores dance and we don’t skip a day for anything,” Stan Allen said. “She loves Mitch and knows that he’s a good teacher. She also loves all of the girls that she works with; they’re a great group. Megan looks forward to all of the performances even when they’re hard work.”

“A Mother’s Tears” shouldn’t be a difficult performance for the dancers, but what you will see on the stage could be a bit unexpected, according to Flanders.

“It’s not going to be very traditional. This will be more modern, very clean-lined. Let’s put it this way, there won’t be any tutus on stage,” Flanders joked. “It’s all about the movement, the choreography and the music. This is very basic and up to date. In addition to our own dancers we will also be working with male guest dancers from both the Carolina Ballet Theatre and the Columbia City Ballet.”

Tickets for “A Mother’s Tears” are $15 general admission (all ages) at the door or in advance in Griffin at Artistic Flowers and Gifts, Safehouse Coffee Roasters, and at Sun City Peachtree (Club Peachtree). Tickets may be used for either performance. Both performances will be at 7:30 p.m.


For more information about Griffin Choral Arts call 888-SING1-88 (888-746-4188) or visit the GCA website:



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