Every year, in early April, there are two or three days that fill me with absolute wonder. Up until this point, the trees are bare and the world is brown and seemingly dead. Then one day, without warning, everywhere I look is color. The trees are in bloom, flowers cover the ground and everything has come back to life. It never ceases to amaze me how this happens in an instant, possibly even between my drive to and from work. Our concert season is somewhat like the emergence of spring. We begin rehearsals in the cold, dark months of winter; performances seem so far out of reach, just like the promise of spring, but suddenly they are right in front of us.
Often my programs are inspired by a theme or idea, but this program blossomed from a song. Sarah Quartel’s, “Sing, my Child” captured my awe and joy that accompanies each emergence of spring. She writes,
“Sing for the promise in each new morning. Sing for the hope in a new day dawning. All around is beauty bright! Wake in the morning and sing, my child.”
From there, the program bloomed into two complementary themes: the celebration of nature and the celebration of women, mothers, daughters, and children. Jonathan Rodgers’ arrangement of “Shenandoah” captures the beauty of nature not only through voice but the stunning piano solo. Our pianist, Mathew Lane, is featured in this song as he transports us to the banks of the rolling Shenandoah. Part Uusberg’s reflective song, “Muusika” entwines both themes with the bonding thread of harmony by setting Juhan Lilv’s poem to music. Lilv pens,
“Somewhere the original harmony must exist…
in a little flower, in the song of a forest,
In the music of a mother’s voice…
How else could it have formed
In human hearts –
Through the words of Rabbi Ruth Sohn, we sing with Miriam as she stands between the sea and the dessert. William Shakespeare reminds us to, “Sigh No
More, Ladies,” because “men were deceivers ever.” Rather, “be blithe and bonny, converting your sounds of woe into, Hey nonny, nonny.” Through madrigals and songs, from Thomas Morley to Billy Joel, we will travel the path of childhood, love, loss, laughter, and motherhood. We hope that you will join us on this musical road!
I look forward to seeing you soon,