I Cantori di Carmel at the Mission

On Sunday, December 7 we had a dark and stormy night with the wind howling and the rain pouring a rhythm of it’s own…..oh wait….that’s another story line. Although dark and stormy, the warmth of the Carmel Mission Basilica and the sounds of I Cantori di Carmel along with Monterey County Pops Brass warmed the hearts and spirits of all who ventured to hear this wondrous program. The chorus under the direction of Cyril Deaconoff along with the brass under the direction of Carl Christensen brightened the evening with the familiar of the season along with original works by local composers.

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Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Choral, I Cantori


Aria — Sacred Words

A lovely fall afternoon befitting Sacred Words welcomed all to the Church In The Forest. Under the direction of Dr. Sean Boulware, the women of Aria continue their vocal excellence. So many of the afternoon’s pieces carried a messages that endure through the ages. Even with contemporary settings, words from thousands of years ago from diverse sacred texts are strikingly comforting in today’s world. As Boulware described, these texts are important in many faith journeys as anchor, comfort, and strength. 

Words from Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, interspersed with Psalm 21, were the basis for the Joan Szymko setting, “I Lift My Eyes.” This was a most appropriate lead in to “Gate Gate” which is a Sanskrit text. “Gate” means gone – as in from suffering, from forgetfulness to mindfulness, as in to the other side. Fragments of Sufi Rumi poetry were the inspiration for “Where Your Bare Foot Walks.” This romantic work was written for David Childs’ bride as an emotional present of love.

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Archived in these categories: Choral


Celebration Choir: Walkin’ Together — Changing Our World

On August 10, Celebration Choir presented its 23rd Annual Spirituals Night at Monterey First Presbyterian Church. Connie Fortunato is so full of energy sharing the music in her soul with local audiences, but even more significantly with the vulnerable children in Eastern Europe. In Fortunato’s eyes, music is truly the universal language of working and creating together. With that in mind, the evening’s program, Walkin’ Together – Changing our World”  – began with Moses Hogan’s “Music Down In My Soul.” With the signature entry of “surround sound,” this choir of happy, smiling and singing faces set the tone as well as toes tapping and hands clapping while progressing to the stage. More of Hogan’s numbers followed, “Walk Together, Children” as well as “We shall Walk Through the Valley in Peace” toward the end of the program.

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Archived in these categories: Choral


CBF 2019: Virginia Best Adams Masterclass Showcase

            We caught a glimpse of a future generation of musicians during the afternoon of July 27, 2019. Each year, the Carmel Bach Festival invites four promising vocalists to study and perform with the Festival Orchestra, Chorale and Chorus. This year, Michael Beattie took on the task of directing the Masterclass sessions and the Showcase Program. Every Monday and Thursday during the Festival, six seasoned professionals worked with the young stars. The mentors this year have been: David Newman, Andrew Megill, Mhairi Lawson, Meg Bragle, Thomas Cooley, and Dashon Burton. The Virginia Best Adams Fellows for this year are Nola Richardson, soprano; Clara Osowski, mezzo-soprano; Corey Shotwell, tenor; and Will Prapestis, baritone. For the Showcase that Saturday afternoon, we experienced the fruits of their labor.

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Archived in these categories: Baroque, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral


CBF 2019: Signs and Seasons

Seasons

            Just as several of the programs during the 82ndCarmel Bach Festival focused on the Christmas Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, there were two programs that focused on The Creation by Franz Joseph Haydn. We heard the entire 18thcentury work during the Saturday concert titled “In the Beginning.”  On Thursday, July 25, 2019 we heard a collection of 25 works chosen by Associate Conductor Andrew Megill. The Festival Chorale performed compositions about the creation story in Genesis, especially the markers of time. The music celebrated the Sun, Moon, and Stars; Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. As I settled into my seat, I knew I was going to be captivated.

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Archived in these categories: 21st Century, Carmel Bach Festival, Choral, Classical Era, Romantic Era