On October 10, I caught Rose Ensemble in concert at Northminster Presbyterian Church (1660 Kessler Boulevard East Drive) when they presented Il Poverello: Medieval and Renaissance Music for Saint Francis of Assisi. Three years of research went into the production of the concert, some of which shows up as text and translations in the program. The group sang Italian hymns, many of which began with a short reading about Assisi’s journeys.
It was hard to pick a favorite singer; each performer, whether male or female, had the kind of voice that you couldn’t believe was coming from them. It was all sort of ethereal, from the quality of the performers’ voices and the soft light pouring into the church to the instruments I couldn’t identify, including what I later learned were the vielle and the rebec. Guest musician Isacco Colombo played instrumental sets on various forms of percussion while also playing the recorder. He also played a few tunes on a style of bagpipe I’d never seen — it looked like a large, tan water pouch slung under his arm — and accompanied other instrumentalists on the oboe.
The group got its start in St. Paul, Minnesota, and bases many of its performances, not surprisingly, in that area. The closest they’ll be to Indy is Chicago at the end of next April. Luckily, you can hear a sample of the concert program, which has also been recorded on CD, at http://www.roseensemble.org/.
The concert was part of the church’s Sound & Spirit Season. For information about other concerts in the series, call 317-251-9489 or visit www.northminster-indy.org/music/sound—spirit.