South Holland Master Chorale will combine music from the 18th century and the 21st century in a concert titled “A Mass for Troubled Times” to be presented May 19 in Lansing and June 2 in St. John, Indiana.

The concerts, under direction of Philip J. Bauman, will present the stirring work “i thank you God for most this amazing day” by contemporary American composer Dan Forrest, based on a text by E.E. Cummings, paired with the “Mass for Troubled Times,” also popularly known as the “Lord Nelson Mass,” by Franz Joseph Haydn.

The May 19 performance will be at 4 p.m. at All Souls Parish, 3010 Ridge Road, Lansing. The hour-long concert will be repeated June 2 at 4 p.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 10701 Olcott Avenue, St. John, Indiana. Admission to both concerts is free; donations will be accepted. For more information, visit the Chorale website,, phone 708-210-2913, or email

“We certainly live in troubled times,” Bauman said. “This concert celebrates the amazing things God has given us, things to be thankful for, and a cry for peace in the world. The power of the human voice can change the world. Our voices resound in glorious harmony and in one accord as we conclude the Mass exclaiming, ‘Dona nobis pacem!’ Give us peace!”

Written in 1798 when much of the European world was in turbulent times with Napoleon’s army challenging European powers, the “Nelson Mass” is considered by many scholars to be among Haydn’s greatest compositions. At this time Haydn, in his mid-60s, already had completed 104 symphonies, as well as his choral masterworks “The Creation” and “The Seasons,” and was hailed as a musical genius throughout Europe. His employer, Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy, had commissioned Haydn to compose a new setting of the Catholic Mass each year to mark the name day of his wife, Princess Maria. The Mass setting being performed in these concerts is the third of six that Haydn completed.

British conductor and choral music composer John Bawden notes that at that time Mass settings generally were “a straightforward affair with organ accompaniment and perhaps a small group of strings.” But now Haydn, “still alert to any opportunity for innovation, proceeded to expand the format, integrating the orchestral and vocal forces in an extended symphonic choral work.” Bawden further notes that “for economic reasons Prince Nikolaus had dismissed nearly all the wind players from his court orchestra, leaving Haydn with only trumpets, timpani, organ and strings. With typical resourcefulness he turned this apparent disadvantage into an opportunity, creating a highly distinctive sonority found in no other.