Musings from the Artistic Director

Musing on “Beat! Beat! Drums!” concert

April 9, 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the U.S. Civil War, and President Lincoln’s assassination mere days later (April 14). St. Martin’s Chamber Choir’s next concerts – “Beat! Beat! Drums!” a Cameo consisting of 12 singers, and interspersing readings from the Civil War with musical selections – takes place April 10-12. Come hear portions of Lincoln’s Inaugural Addresses, Frederick Douglass’ moving tribute to Lincoln, Confederate diarists Sarah Morgan and Mary Chesnut, Robert E. Lee’s farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia, Joshua Chamberlain’s speech on the anniversary of Gettysburg, and Sullivan Ballou’s (thanks to Ken Burns now famous) letter to his wife the day before he died at the Battle of Bull Run; these interspersed with settings of Walt Whitman poems about the Civil War, two African American spirituals, some Herman Melville poetry, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and an American folk tune of the day called “O Come, Angel Band.” As is usually the case with Cameos, venues are intimate, so tickets are limited (call 303.298.1970 or click on Tickets in the menu above).

Entry of March 9th:   We have now had two rehearsals for our “Beat! Beat! Drums!” 150th-Anniversary-of-the-end-of-the-Civil-War Concert, and both times one or more members of the choir has choked up and cried during the rehearsal of a piece (this week there were THREE!).  This is not, I hasten to stress, because of my cruelty, ineptness, or any combination of the two (at least I don’t think so); but because of the poignancy of the texts and the beauty of the music to which they have been set.  All of this is to say that, if the choir is crying in the first couple rehearsals, I think the audience will be positively stirred by the beauty and pathos of this coming concert.  I hasten to add that there are also upbeat pieces, including the spiritual “Way over in Beulah Lan’”, a rousing arrangement of the Battle Hymn of the Republic by choir member Donna Wickham, and James Erb’s meltingly beautiful version of “Shenandoah.”  So if the idea of crying at a concert is not appealing to you, know that there are an equal number of toe-tapping moments of exultation.  I can’t wait to hear the marriage of these beautiful pieces with readings from Lincoln, Whitman, Melville, Douglass, etc.