The 2011 Choral Institute Choir will perform a unique work at its annual concert Thursday.
The choir will premier Bruce Trinkley's "Mass of Pentecost" at 8 p.m. at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 806 13th Ave.
Trinkley, a professor emeritus of music at Penn State University, said "Mass of Pentecost" is unique because the entire Mass has been put to music. He said normally only parts of the Mass are sung, such as the Kyrie ("Lord have mercy") the Gloria ("Glory to God") and the Agnes Dei ("Lamb of God").
Trinkley wrote the work two years ago during a retreat at the Ucross Foundation, a center for artists, near Sheridan, Wyo.
"It's a lovely place to be inspired to write a Mass," he said of the setting in a rustic cabin in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains.
Trinkley said he did not have a group in mind when he wrote the piece, but he was asked to write it by his friend Robert Long, director of music for the institute.
"I am very anxious to hear it," said Trinkley, who will be attending the rehearsals to be held earlier in the week.
He said although he prides himself in his compositions, "Mass of Pentecost" is a world premiere and he wants to make sure no notes are misplaced.
It is not his first premiere, however. Among his other ones is a sacred drama, "St. Thomas, the Carpenter," that opened in San Antonio, Texas.
He also composed "Mountain Laurels," a choral symphony written for State College's centennial, and is a two-time winner of the National Opera Association's Chamber Opera Competition.
Three of his arrangements of American spirituals are part of the concert.
"In 'Mass of Pentecost,' I tried to convey the drama of the story and capture the beauty of the words," he said.
Adding to the drama will be dancing by four women under the direction of KT Huckabee, assistant professor of integrative arts and dance at Penn State Altoona.
They will be involved in the processional, offertory, communion and recessional aspects of the piece.
"The movement lends a purely visual element to the experience," Huckabee said in an email.
She said the dancers hope to deepen the level of enjoyment for the audience.
"Many people enjoy a physical response to music and emotions that 'move' them. This is why much of our language uses phrases to express a personal reaction for when we are deeply touched, such as 'jump for joy,'" Huckabee said.
Although most of the words are from the liturgy, Long wrote the opening and closing.
Formerly of Hollidaysburg and a past director of music at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Long is minister of music at Corpus Christi Parish in Chatham, N.J.
He returns to the area every summer to conduct the institute for area choir directors and singers of all denominations.
Long said the "Mass of Pentecost" was chosen for the concert because it celebrates the birthday of the church, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ's followers.
He said it is an event acknowledged by different faith traditions and brings unity to Christians from different backgrounds.
'The piece works very well in a concert setting, but can be used in a Mass setting as well," he said.
Although the work is written in the Roman Catholic tradition, it is similar to the liturgy of the Episcopalians, who are hosting the event.
In the past, the concerts have been held at the Cathedral and First Evangelical Lutheran Church.
"We like to move it around," Long said.
In a way, the Academy of Sacred Music, which sponsors the institute, is returning to its roots. Long said St. Luke's Church provided studio space for the academy when it was established in 1997.
"It will be nice to come back to them," he said.