The Hays High School Chamber Singers are performing "The Little Match Girl" passion by David Lang at 2 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 201 W. 13th.
The work won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for music, and Hays High is the first high school to ever perform the piece, according to a release from HHS vocal music instructor Alex Underwood. It runs just over 30 minutes and tells Hans Christian Anderson’s story of a young girl who has no place to go on a cold New Year’s Eve. She has a bundle of matches to try and sell, but can’t find any buyers. In a desperate attempt to keep warm, she strikes a match and as it shines, she has a spectacular vision. After it burns out, she lights a second match and then a third. The final vision is of her late grandmother who takes the little girl to heaven with her.
The musical form is based on the Passions of J.S. Bach. Lang utilizes the compelling musical tactics Bach employs to move listeners to the mission of the Passion of Christ, but instead the “passion” of this young, poor girl. Unlike Bach’s work, this is for a cappella choir and simple percussion.
"The Chamber Singers have been working on this non-stop since January and it has been a wonderful experience to watch our students use their skills to tackle a work of this difficulty, depth, and complexity," Underwood said in the release. "Not only are they flexing their musical chops, but they are also able to communicate this beautifully tragic story and bring the brilliance of David Lang to life."
"If you have a spare hour on Saturday afternoon, it would be an honor to have you at our performance. Not only would you get to hear and support these fantastic young people, but you’d also get to experience a top-notch example of live modern classical music," Underwood said.