On the cusp of another wonderful season of music making with the great folks of the Cantata Singers I find myself reflecting on a couple of themes that are so important to this year's golden anniversary celebration. The first, and most important, of the themes is the community that continues to thrive around the sublime joy of performing great music. I have been involved with the organization for over 30 years having joined under the baton of then music director Bill (William) Payne. One of my greatest joys through all of those years has been watching and enjoying the evolution of the singers into the welcoming and close knit family-like group that sings together currently. The singers are as hard working a choral group as I can even imagine and they play and socialize with equal ferocity! Sometimes just getting the focus back after a break during rehearsal is a bit like getting that proverbial horse to drink once at the water... No matter. To belong to such an organization in any capacity is a wonderful gift. To be able to work with this bunch as we find the beauty in the music we prepare and present is simply awe inspiring!
The other theme that seems particularly important as we begin this season is the dedication of the organization to not only sharing great music with everyone in our area by keeping great music alive through rehearsal and performance but also their dedication to fostering the creation of new music. Not an easy thing to do for an all volunteer organization but for the past 3 decades the group has commissioned a new major work at least every ten years. It is with a great deal of excitement that as this anniversary season kicks off I realize that we will be working on Warren Benson's "A Score of Praises", commissioned for the 20th anniversary season in 1984, at the same time we are preparing to premier the newest commission, "Each Song is a Journey". To be involved with a community choral organization that cares deeply enough about the music to keep finding ways to cover the cost of not only performance but of the creation itself is indeed a special treat. To have been the recipient of more than one of those commissions is personally so very gratifying.
If you've ever been involved with the Cantata Singers in the past but aren't currently, we extend a warm welcome for you to join us, to experience the community and great music making that continues from when you "used to do that". This invitation is open for the entire season but particularly for the performance the great Mass in B minor at the far end of this very special season. If you've never been a part of the group this would be the perfect year to join us. This will be an amazing and truly rewarding season for all involved. If singing with the choir isn't your thing please come join us as part of the audience. The excitement of the anniversary, the thrill of great music, new and old, the love of the family that is the Cantata Singers will make each performance truly inspiring and an occasion not to be missed. Here's to those 50 great years that live on in our memories (and the occasional recording) and at least 5 times 50 more years of great music and friendship to come for such a musically dedicated and community oriented choir! - - will wickham