“The sedge is wither’d from the lake, / And no birds sing,” lamented Keats in “La Belle Dame sans Merci.” Imagine a silent Boston spring in which no songs rang forth from local stages, and in which no singers appeared to pour out their souls for us. Such emotive generosity cannot always extend through careers as long as instrumentalists’, and because we care about the lives of those who sing for us, attention must be paid.
“Keeping the Voices of New England Strong,” the fifth annual benefit for Boston Singers’ Relief Fund, brings together singers and musicians from Blue Heron, Emmanuel Music, Handel and Haydn, and Boston Baroque for a gala entertainment with a mission. Taking place Saturday at 4 pm at Emmanuel Church, the concert includes Bach cantatas, excerpts from Messiah, indeed a lot of superb vocal music from every period. (The complete program appears below.)
Boston Singers’ Relief Fund was begun in 2009 with a very successful benefit concert which BMInt hailed [here] as “an impressive launch of a very worthwhile venture.” The fund provides temporary financial relief in a confidential and respectful manner to those in the professional singing community who, for a variety of reasons, find themselves in need of assistance. In spite of the challenging economic climate of that year and since, BSRF has persevered, in large part thanks to principal sponsors: organizations that pledge 2% of their annual singer budgets to the fund.
Blue Heron, Emmanuel Music, Handel and Haydn, and Boston Baroque are the area’s premiere presenters of vocal music, and all are BSRF principal sponsors. To my knowledge, a collaboration such as this Saturday concert has never been done before. The program will include music from the 15th century to the 21st, featuring singers who have international careers as well as the talented Emmanuel Bach Institute students just starting out.
For the final piece, Ryan Turner, director of Emmanuel Music, has chosen “When You Said…”, a motet on Psalm 27 composed by Brett Johnson. Johnson has sung with all four of the groups on the program, is a highly respected voice teacher, and a composer. The work was premiered by Emmanuel Music in 2012. Emmanuel Church, also a principal sponsor, will host the event, and a reception will follow.
It is thanks to support from musicians, music lovers and principal sponsors that BSRF has been able to extend assistance to all of the professional singers who have applied to the fund for assistance these past five years, and they hope to be able to do more in the future. This concert celebration will serve not only to raise dollars for the fund but also to raise awareness among audiences of the challenges professional singers face, and among the singer community of the availability of assistance.
Shari Wilson, Martin Near, Jason McStoots, Mark Sprinkle, and Paul Guttry, voices
Scott Metcalfe, director, medieval fiddle
Entre vous, gentils amoureux Guillaume Du Fay (c. 1397-1474)
Rossignolet qui chante Rinalde del Melle (c. 1554-c. 1598)
Vous qui goutez d’amour le doux contentement André Pevernage (1543-91)
Je file quand Dieu me donne de quoy Philip Van Wilder (c. 1500-1533)
EMMANUEL MUSIC, Bach Institute Fellows
S.189 Aria: Meine Seele rühmt und preist J.S. Bach (1685–1750)
Colin Doyle, tenor
Amanda Dame, flute
Caecilie Balling, violin
Peggy Pearson, oboe
Jacob Efthimiou, cello
Sophia Zhou, organ
S.44 Aria: Christen müssen auf der Erden J.S. Bach
Rebecca Printz, mezzo-soprano
Theodosia Roussos, oboe
Jacob Thompson, cello
Mitchell Miller, organ
Andrew Garland, bass
John Finney, organ
“The Trumpet Shall Sound,” from Messiah G.F. Handel (1685-1759)
Robinson Pyle, trumpet
Betrachte Meine Seel, from St. John Passion J.S. Bach
Gigi Turgeon & Diane Pettipaw, violins
Lynn Nowels, cello
HANDEL AND HAYDN SOCIETY
Erika Vogel, soprano; Katherine Growdon, alto; Patrick Waters, tenor; Jacob Cooper, baritone
John Finney, piano
Creation Music by William Billings (1746-1800), words by Watts
“Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming” music and words by Stephen Foster (1826-1864)
“Holy Angels Guard Thy Slumber” music by Lionel de Meyer (1816-1883), words by George Cooper
“All Praise Be Thine” music by Harrison Millard (1830-1895), words by Cooper
THE SINGERS’ VOICE CHOIR 2015
Ryan Turner, Conductor
Emily Bieber, Kendra Colton, Carley DeFranco, Erica Finn, Margaret Johnson, Magdalena Kuzma, Suzanne Lis, Erika Vogel, Allie Whitfield, Shari Wilson: sopranos
Gail Abbey, Eileen Christiansen, Katherine Growdon, Martin Near, Rebecca Printz, Letitia Stevens, Laurie Szablewski: altos
Colin Doyle, Frank Kelley, Murray Kidd, Henry Lussier, David McSweeney, Jason McStoots, Eric Perry, Mark Sprinkle, Patrick Waters: tenors
Jacob Cooper, Michael Floriano, Andrew Garland, Paul Guttry, Brett Johnson, Cliff Rust: basses
“When You Said…” Psalm 27: 7-9, 14 Brett Johnson (1962 – )
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