What an amazing and wonderful two days we enjoyed with Monroe Crossing and the music of Carol Barnett! From the easy and fun dress rehearsal on Tuesday afternoon through the incredibly fun performance Wednesday evening we had so much fun!! Our singing caps are definitely tipped to Mark, Lisa, Matt, Derek, and David for their great playing and their love of what they do. With all the fun music and a great crowd, Schuyler County was definitely rocking! Or should that be “blue-grassing?”
Will and Susan join Bill Snyder at WSKG to talk about the March 1st concert "50 Years of Concerts and Commissions" and other details of our Celebratory Anniversary Season! Listen to the interview here.
Congratulations to the Cantata Singers own Amanda Clark (alto 2013-2014 season), who completed her senior recital on Saturday, March 8th, at Pennsylvania's Mansfield University. Clark celebrated the occasion in special fashion with the world premier of a new composition by Cantata Singers music director Will Wickham with text by poet and Corning Community College professor Edward Dougherty. The piece, The Vow of the Maker, was composed specifically for Amanda by Wickham who worked with her in the Music Theory program at CCC before she went on to Mansfield. "Amanda is a wonderful musician," said Wickham, "with both the talent and the drive to succeed in the art." Clark sang in spectacular fashion on our December program as the soprano soloist in Dave Brubeck's La Fiesta de la Posada. She completed a full and challenging recital on the 8th that earned her a standing ovation from the many people in attendance.
For every decade in which the Cantata Singers have celebrated their anniversary, the commissioning of new music has been their cornerstone. To mark 50 years, this milestone needed to reflect and capture the very soul of this long-lived organization. The choice to hire current director Will Wickham, whose history with the organization dates to the '70's, was easy. As characteristic of Will, he not only put his own heart and soul into the commission, but also brought a deeper and more personal side to the music as well. Choosing to work with long-time singer and poet Martha Horton of the Elmira based poetry group Articulation, poetry that perfectly captured the nature and spirit of music, was masterfully woven throughout the score. Adding more warmth and meaning to the commission, this work was dedicated in memory of Lou Sand, long time singer and supporter of the Cantata Singers and friend to everyone she ever met. Lou's family generously offered a matching donation to help with the commission, of which the Cantata Singers were immensely grateful. According to Will "For Lou life was truly a journey to be savored and enjoyed and her time with the singers was a big part of that journey. Therefore, it is with honor and great pleasure that the Cantata Singers, along with Lou's family and friends, dedicate Each Song is a Journey to her memory. Sing on, Lou! ... Each Song is a Journey is just that, a musical journey that allowed for wide ranging styles of writing that both sum up the first 50 years of the group's history and, perhaps, offer a glance forward to the future." As you can see in the beautifully written text below, it is indeed, just that. A huge note of thanks and appreciation go to Will, Martha, the family of Lou Sand and all others who brought this gorgeous 50th Anniversary Commission to fruition! For each song truly is a journey ...
Each Song is a Journey
Text Martha Horton (1934- ) and ARTiculation
Each song is a journey, a road to explore:
some voices leading, others receding,
turning from stately to playful
to tender and yearning,
winding a melody,
finding a theme.
Then, a surprise
like a bend in the road
or a hill to climb.
Voices rise to meet
a new tempo, new key,
basses swelling, tenors climbing,
sopranos soaring...then falling,
altos calling them back
to the way,
on chords to conclude.
Each song is a journey,
a story told new,
alive and changing
each time we sing.
Thanks to the efforts of the Cantata Singers 50th Anniversary Committee, we have published a history of the organization since the first concert in the spring of 1964. The booklet includes pictures and history from past seasons, information about previous directors and where they are now along with follow up stories about winners of our long running Young Performers Competition.
You can get your copy by phone or email using the “contact us” information on our website. To help defray the cost of printing we respectfully suggest a donation of $5 per copy.
The upcoming season promises some wonderful music and a great deal of fun for the singers. In December we'll be singing in Big Flats at the First Presbyterian Church. A Celebration of Carols, a program of seasonal music, including some singing by the audience, is built around Benjamin Britten's "Ceremony of Carols".
Our annual choral celebration of music by women composers, scheduled for Sunday, March 10 in Corning will be River Songs. The program features music by the prolific contemporary composer Gwyneth Walker along with original compositions and spiritual and hymn arrangements on the theme of "rivers" by several other prominent women writers.
In May we'll be in Elmira for a program called Something Olde, Something New, including music by Renaissance composer Palestrina, a series of motets by 20th century composer Maurice Durufle and a set of three songs by popular contemporary composer Eric Whitacre.
We look forward to singing with you if you would like to join us as a singer, or singing for you if the best seat in the house is your goal for any or all of what promise to be a wonderful season of concerts!
Thanks to the efforts of Stephen Nagle (bass 2), The Cantata Singers are the recipients of an Allstate “Hands in the Community” award. The Allstate Foundation offers this granting program to agency owners, personal financial representatives and employees who are committed volunteers in the communities where they live and work. According to the Allstate Foundation this group collectively volunteers more than 160,000 hours each year.
Will Wickham, music director of the Cantata Singers, said “We are so lucky to have such a dedicated group of volunteer musicians in our community.” He continued “To have members who can, and do, make the effort to secure grant funding is extremely helpful for the kind of authentic performances we like to do”.
The Cantata Singers, made up of professional and amateur musicians from many parts of the southern Finger Lakes and north central Pennsylvannia area, perform three concerts each season. Music chosen for each concert typically follows a theme and is performed, as much as possible, in the way that the composer originally intended. Concerts are held at various churches and performance venues around the Elmira - Corning area and are free and open to the public but free will donations are gratefully accepted.
Cantata Singers president and Festival of Women Chairwoman Susan Nagle accepts two grants awarded to the organization by the ARTS of the Southern Finger Lakes in Watkins Glen today. After thanking the ARTS for such generous support in this and past years, Susan encouraged everyone in attendance to learn more about the Festival and to think about becoming involved in some way.
The Festival, organized by the Cantata Singers, is in it's fourth year and is a month long celebration of women in the creative and lively arts. Events are held at a variety of venues throughout Chemung, Steuben and Schuyler counties.