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Conspirare Presents A Choral Pilgrimage At Laurel Heights Methodist

Conspirare Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson.

Conspirare is a choral group that works out of Austin and a few times a year they make it to San Antonio. But calling them an Austin choral group though isn’t entirely accurate..

"Actually only a small number of the singers are here in Austin," said Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson. "This is an ensemble of singers from around the country, really. Each of them is a soloist in their own right. They may be performing art songs, or operatically, or on Broadway, or in faculty positions, and yet come together and form a choir of soloists, in a sense."

They have far-flung careers and homes, but a few times a year they gather for rehearsal and performances. Thursday night’s event at Laurel Heights Methodist Church is a very popular concept piece called "Path of Miracles."

"'Path of Miracles' is based in the pilgrimage route, the famous St. James Way, El Camino de Santiago, in Spain and a little bit of France, and this is something of a musical depiction in four movements," Johnson said.

It’s a story told by way of choral music -- the story of that pilgrimage.

"Pilgrims are met by demons -- whether they’re inner demons or challenges on the road or illness -- so there is a lot of rhythmic characterization. Just as a listener it’s great earplay," Johnson said.

"This doesn’t sound so much like an evening out as it does an experience," I said.

"Yeah, beautiful, that’s right," Johnson replied. "It’s a full experience but it’s really not so long. It’s about 65minutes as a complete piece, and this’ll be the only thing on the program."

Conspirare performs next Thursday at Laurel Heights. 

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii