The Festival Chorale: Two Winter Songs

T

he Festival Chorale is the shining light at the top of our education program, but little could any of us have imagined what the Chorale would be learning in recent months. Not able to meet in person, the group rehearsed via Zoom, and eventually decided to create a virtual choir. Each singer had to know their part well enough to sing it alone, and then learn the technical aspects of recording it.

Jenny Matteucci, Conductor
Daniel Lockert, Piano
Audio-Video Editor: Lauren Biglow

Soprano: Cynthia Frank, Robin Knutson, Katharine O’Shea, Linda Perry, Andria Richey. Alto: Cathleen Boxell, Deborah Farmar, Evelyn Harris, Elaine Hillesland. Tenor: Pamela Hudson, Jason Kirkman, John Owens (guest), James Sibbet. Bass: James Blanton, Paul Friesen, Eric Hillesland, Randy Knutson.

Glow

Eric Whitacre (b. 1970)
Poem by Edward Esch (b.1970)

Softly falls the winter snow,
whispers to the sleeping world below:
“Wintertide awakes,”
morning breaks and sets the earth aglow.

In gentle tones of warmest white,
Proclaim the glory of Aurora’s light.
Sparrow wings in a clear clean voice,
a sweet, silver carol for the season born.
Radiant wings as the skies rejoice,
Arise and illuminate the morn.

Softly falls the winter snow,
whispers to the sleeping world below:
“Glow, like the softly falling snow.”

Choose Something Like a Star

From Frostiana: Seven Country Songs, Randall Thompson (1899-1984); poem by Robert Frost (1874-1963)

O Star (the fairest one in sight),
We grant your loftiness the right
To some obscurity of cloud—
It will not do to say of night,
Since dark is what brings out your light.
Some mystery becomes the proud.
But to be wholly taciturn
In your reserve is not allowed.
Say something to us we can learn
By heart and when alone repeat.
Say something! And it says ‘I burn.’
But say with what degree of heat.
Talk Fahrenheit, talk Centigrade.
Use language we can comprehend.
Tell us what elements you blend.
It gives us strangely little aid,
But does tell something in the end.
And steadfast as Keats’ Eremite,
Not even stooping from its sphere,
It asks a little of us here.
It asks of us a certain height,
So when at times the mob is swayed
To carry praise or blame too far,
We may choose something like a star
To stay our minds on and be staid.

Generously sponsored by Pamela Hudson Real Estate

The Mendocino Music Festival Chamber Chorale, directed by Festival Chorus Master Jenny Matteucci, was formed in 2018 as an offshoot of the much larger Festival Chorus, members of which were invited to audition.

Festival Artistic Director Allan Pollack: “I’ve been touched by the dedication of the members of the Festival Chorus, and so have wanted to create an opportunity for people who are ready to take their choral singing to the next level.” Festival Chorus Master Jenny Matteucci reports, “It is a joy to work with a group of singers who are willing to do the hard work on vocal technique in order to make increasingly excellent and inspiring music together.” Members are sopranos Cynthia Frank, Robin Knutson, Katharine O’Shea, Linda Perry, and Andria Richey; altos Cathleen Boxell, Deborah Farmar, Evelyn Harris, and Elaine Hillesland; tenors Pamela Hudson, Jason Kirkman, John Owens (guest), and James Sibbet; basses James Blanton, Paul Friesen, Eric Hillesland, and Randy Knutson.

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