The Resilience Of NYC Gives The New York Choral Society Something To Sing About
Posted On April 9, 2021
20-21 Virtual Season to Launch Series of Multi-Disciplinary Films to See the Music Through the Lens of Innovation, Diversity and Celebration.
The New York Choral Society, New York’s pioneering symphonic choir that explores unique collaboration and dynamic repertory, announces Our Voices, a digital 2020-2021 season of multidisciplinary art shorts of acapella choral works, November-May.
Highlighting the talents of NY-based vocalists, visual artists and dance makers, the season, co-created with a group of innovative contemporary artists and choreographers, features works by a number of noted African American and female composers and arrangers, championing equity and inclusion for both the arts community and its patrons.
Exploring themes of utopian ideals to the deeply personal yearnings for peace and the comfort of love, this 5-part series includes works from the Shaker era to the present, rooted in the choral idiom.
Peace unto Zion
This fall, the company will reimagine the Shaker hymn, Peace unto Zion, arranged by Kevin Siegfried. Premiering on November 11, this short will highlight a unique collaboration of choir with multidisciplinary artist, Joyce McDonald, a Visual AIDS artist, weaver of words, celebrated sculptor, painter and staunch activist for AIDS awareness and prevention.
Carol for All Children
This holiday season, the organization will premiere Adolphus Hailstork’s Carol for All Children on December 15. Working alongside visual artist and dancemaker Brendan Fernandes, members of the choir will be juxtaposed against a backdrop of ballet inspired movements in a celebration of peace, faith and hope-the true reason for the season.
God is Seen
Alice Parker’s “God is Seen” will premiere late winter on February 23 in collaboration with Princess Grace Award recipient and choreographer Claudia Schreier. Written during a period of optimism in America, Parker, along with a balletic movement vocabulary and a New York backdrop ushers in a fresh start of a new year, exploring an insight into the quest for a life of common good, simple beauty, and the hope of a flourishing society.
Additionally, Langston Hughes‘s Mother to Son poem arranged by the prolific American composer Undine Eliza Anna Smith Moore invites internationally acclaimed artist and choreographer Francesca Harper and featuring mezzo-sopranoZoie Reams for their April 6 video premiere. A poem that paints the portrait of black life in America composed by way of inspiration of black spirituals and folk music, this collaboration shines a light on history, storytelling and activism in the context of the Black narrative of yesterday and today. The season will close on May 11 with Invitation to Love; Jennifer Higdon’s choral setting of a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar. Paired with sculptor, performance-maker and writer Gordon Hall, the artists leave patrons and viewers with an unwavering sentiment of acceptance and inclusion, marching into a season of renewal for a city still healing from crisis.
“The challenge of social distancing – so “unchoral” – has prompted us to consider new ways of creating performances of choral music,” explains NY Choral Society’s Music Director David Hayes. “The digital media space is an exciting opportunity for us to re-imagine performances of acapella choral works in collaboration with contemporary artists and community arts organizations,” he continues. “Although all of our collaborators will be creating and recording their contributions to the productions remotely and without the benefit of in person workshops and rehearsals, this process will challenge collaborators and audiences to reconsider the simplicity and power of these choral works. I look forward to offering a new form of choral performance with this multitude of “voices” from around New York to bring new ways of discovering the relevance and beauty of these choral works”.