Concord Festival of Authors Concert

From Poetry to Song: a Musical Exploration

Sunday, November 5
3:00 p.m.

51 Walden Performing Arts Center
51 Walden Street
Concord, MA 


Celebremus: A Season of Song

Saturday, December 16
3:00 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church
81 Elm Street
Concord, MA


Amy Beach and her Contemporaries

Saturday, May 12
4:00 p.m.

Trinity Episcopal Church
81 Elm Street
Concord, MA


Spring 2017 Carlisle Mosquito article

Music Flows From our Shores to the Shores of England and Scotland

Read more: Spring 2017 Carlisle Mosquito article

Concord Women's Chorus Sings of Spring

Concord Women's Chorus Sings of Spring

Jane Ring Frank, Artistic Director, Concord Women's Chorus

As the old Irish saying goes, "There’s a grand stretch in the evenings." The sun lingers in the sky and light slowly makes its way back into our lives. Spring arrives. The Vernal Equinox marks a transition, a balancing point, directing us to new beginnings – from darkness to light. As a born and bred Californian (an Angeleno, no less), I was never as connected to the angle of the sun and the lengthening of days as I  became when I moved to the Northeast some 26 years ago. The experience of perpetual sunshine evolved, for me, into a deep appreciation for the nuances of a New England spring. I am ever amazed at the rebirth of the land – the fits and starts of a spring day and the range and subtlety of light.

In celebration of this precious season, the Concord Women’s Chorus will present "A Light Exists in Spring" on May 7, 4 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 81 Elm St., Concord, MA. Our program reflects not only the music and poetry of spring but also the light and shadow of varying musical styles and literary texts. We will present the work of international composers and beloved poets.

            Concert offers cool jazz and warm poetry

At the heart of the program is the brightness, warmth and energy of Bob Chilcott’s "A Little Jazz Mass," his setting of the Latin Missa brevis. One of Britain’s most successful full-time composers, Chilcott is best known for his time spent as singer, composer and arranger for the acclaimed King’s Singers. "A Little Jazz Mass" is a five-movement work offering swing, blues, and an easy, cool jazz. We will be joined by three marvelous instrumentalists: our own Scott Nicholas at the keyboards, Sven Larson on bass, and Rick Forzese on drums – all in-demand, high level professionals.

Included is "Songs for Women’s Voices," by Vermont-based Gwyneth Walker, which uses extraordinary texts by poet and playwright May Swenson. “Love is a Rain of Diamonds” sparkles with contrasts – light and darkness, under-earth waters and clouds. The text and its musical setting express love as deep and abiding, spiritual, and sometimes hidden. “The Name is Changeless” describes the human impulse to search for the Divine – from hushed chant-like stasis to active pursuit. Marked by romantic phrases and florid composition, "Mornings Innocent" extolls a vital love, increasing in passion and flowing with energy.

Composed in 2001, Ola Gjeilo’s "Ubi Caritas" draws inspiration not only from the original Gregorian chant but also from Maurice Duruflé’s renowned "Ubi Caritas," written in 1960. The piece is supported by beautiful chant, but the interior life of the work is lush, modern, golden, and ultimately pure. As a companion to the piece, Scott Nicholas will play a few movements of Gjeilo’s piano work, "Stone Rose," composed in 2007, which celebrates the composer’s love of New York City and its changes throughout the seasons.

            Songs evoking love and a hint of melancholy and loss

From the same year, Tarik O’Regan’s "A Light Exists in Spring," commissioned by Methodist College Belfast, sets Emily Dickinson’s luminous poem and is the titular reference for our concert. Dickinson reminds us of the fleeting quality of the season’s gifts and revelations. We are asked to gaze on the light of spring – both internally and externally. The piece is lovely, melodious, and rich – tinged with a hint of melancholy and loss. And drawing from another much loved poet, popular American composer Eric Whitacre delivers a luscious setting of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Seal Lullaby,” the moving, dream-like preface to “The White Seal” from "The Jungle Book." Whitacre yields to this lullaby dream with a soaring and billowing melody, filled with warmth and maternal love.

Finally, the chorus will perform a little piece by Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds, "Benedictus Es," which I have chosen to use as concert bookends. Although the composition is short, it is tight, economical, and rhythmically exciting. It bears repeated listening, as Ešenvalds is one of the most sought-after young composers of our time. Celebrate the poetry of spring with the Concord Women’s Chorus. For tickets:

Jane Ring Frank on Ceremony of Carols

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