Do you have a favorite choral work? For those of us who sing, the answer to that question may depend on our participation in choirs, the choice of musical era that appeals to us most, our age, our voice part, our ethnicity, our upbringing, our religion, etc. This is the question I considered as I began to plan today’s program.
My own background includes long-time involvement in church music, a musical family life from the time I was a child to being married to a musician, singing in choirs beginning in elementary school, and pursuing music as a career to name the major factors. Over the years, I have sung all but two of today’s pieces – not including the TTBB sections of Frostiana! So as I chose songs to sing, I considered what others may have been familiar with such as the Brahms and the Mozart works.
What I didn’t know was that the music I thought “everybody knew,” perhaps less than half of the chorale did know. My desire then became to have all the singers learn these magnificent and treasured pieces of the choral literature and to internalize the messages of them. In that way, each singer would be able to pass the “musical DNA” down to future generations.
Perhaps you will know many or maybe just a few of these pieces today. Perhaps you will recall a time, a place, or a person when you hear “Danny Boy” or the “Ave Verum.” Perhaps you will be moved to experience the human emotions we strive to share with all of our audience members.
Amy Bernon’s words in “A Song Sung Once” encapsulate the message of this afternoon’s concert of “cherished classics to future favorites.” Paraphrasing her poetry:
A song sung once then forgotten … will linger,
Waiting for a willing singer to give it life again.
So let your song be remembered, and help it thrive and breathe and grow,
Teaching us the wisdom we need to know, to heal, to love, to learn to sing again.
Thank you for listening to us. May you always have a song in your heart.