Coro de Cámara News:
After a long year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time for some joyful spring music from the popular local chamber chorus Coro de Cámara. The group’s latest online concert ‘Dancing into May: Celebrating Life, Love, and New Birth’ features madrigal songs, solo piano, and poetry.
The spring-themed concert is free of charge and available for viewing at any time on Coro’s website.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “If spring came but once a century instead of once a year, …what wonder and expectation there would be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change.” Recalling the poet’s words, Coro’s Artistic Director Nylea Butler-Moore says, “We want to notice and celebrate the wonders of spring that have come to us despite the pandemic. In a time of loss and upheaval, we need something to remind us of beauty and joy.”
All performing arts groups have struggled this year without the ability to sell tickets to live performances and to host in-person fundraisers, and Coro has been no exception. So this week, the chorus is hosting an online auction, and has extended the auction bidding to 6 p.m. Friday, May 7 – just in time for Mother’s Day gift-giving.
Generous auction donors have provided something for everyone. The list of items offered include an original painting, framed photograph by award-winning artist, handwoven grass baskets, one-of-a-kind jewelry, and a hand-knit shawl. There are also piano lessons, personalized yoga and fitness sessions, life coaching, lessons in pysanky egg dying, personal serenades, gift cards, and even home-grown tomato plants.
“The concert’s launch date coincides with May Day celebrations throughout the Northern Hemisphere,” says Butler-Moore, “And the title ‘Dancing into May: Celebrating Life, Love, and New Birth’ is an adaptation of a German spring festival motto. May Day for the Greeks represented the victory of life over death, and to the Italians, rebirth. These ancient festivals included dancing, singing, and cakes. What’s not to like?”
The program features four spring-themed a cappella songs, three by well-known English madrigal composer Thomas Morley (1557-1603). Morley was a contemporary of William Shakespeare, and one of his songs, “It Was a Lover and His Lass,” takes its text from As You Like It. Two Morley pieces also showcase the talents of our lower voices and give the tenors and basses a demanding vocal workout. Looking at Morley’s work led Butler-Moore to the songs of Robert Pearsall (1795-1856) and his “Spring Returns.” Though a later composer, Pearsall was instrumental in reviving the madrigal form, and wrote in the style of Morley and other early composers.
The songs will alternate with four poems about spring, life, and love, including “O Mistress Mine” from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and “Corinna’s Going a-Maying” by another Shakespeare contemporary, Robert Herrick. We’ll also hear poetry from William Blake and Sara Teasdale. Pianist Yelena Mealy will round off the program with piano solos by Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Franz Liszt.
This concert is Coro’s third experiment in online programming. Butler-Moore notes, “The singers recorded their parts at home, and AV Tech Rick Bolton worked with me to put the parts together. Making music this way is challenging and time-consuming, and we all miss the sense of community that comes when we sing in person together. But through the wonders of technology, when we see the end result, we magically become a choir again.”
Coro de Cámara invites the community to celebrate life, love, and new birth with ‘Dancing into May’ and to check out the unique offerings on their online auction – now extended to close at 6 p.m. Friday, May 7. Links to both the concert and the auction may be found at corodecamara-nm.org.