Why I sing
Mark Nickel | Tenor
In grade school, all my teachers played the piano, so singing was something we did every day. Being old enough for the real children’s choir in fifth grade was an important rite of passage. There were great choirs available through high school, college, grad school, and now here in Providence. Choral singing stays with you — and you with it — if you’re lucky enough to start early.
Summertime is JPS time
The Junior Providence Singers — that’s JPS now — has reinvented itself as a summertime deep-dive choral enrichment program for singers of high school age. Beyond vocal training, musicianship, and choral skills, JPS will offer master classes, techniques for movement and stage presence, and much more — all aimed at a final-session, not-to-be-missed concert August 16. Details and registration
A preview of our 47th season
Ralph Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem | Saturday, November 17, 2018
Dona Nobis Pacem draws on powerful verse from Walt Whitman, elements of the Mass, and a 1930s anti-war speech by a member of Parliament as the storm clouds were gathering once again over Europe. The Singers will perform as guests of the R.I. Philharmonic in “Armistice Centennial,” a concert marking the armistice that ended World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
Messiah | Saturday, December 15, 2018
Christine Noel conducts the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, Providence Singers, and soloists in the twelfth annual performance of Handel’s masterpiece — a fresh reading informed by Baroque performance practice.
What Sweeter Music: Songs of the Spirit | Saturday-Sunday, March 9-10, 2019
Music for chorus a cappella and chorus with organ, including works of Johannes Brahms, Edward Elgar, Julian Wachner and others. The major work on the program is the Mass in C by Josef Rheinberger, a prolific late-19th century composer now known mainly for his contributions to the organ repertoire. John Black is the guest organist.
The Heart of the Singer | Saturday-Sunday, May 18-19, 2019
The Wound in the Water is a 2016 composition for chorus, piano, and string orchestra by the Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, setting verse by the Welsh poet Euan Tait. It deals with themes of mammon, the love of money that holds ruinous power over the human condition, fostering conflict and competition and blunting the capacity for love. Also on the program: Mozart’s brief Inter Natos Mulierum.
Recordings of the Providence Singers
Dan Forrest: Requiem for the Living
Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living proved to be a powerful work in performance for both singers and listeners. He wrote it in 2013. The Providence Singers performed it in November 2014, together with three Bach motets. Little more than two years after the concert, the Singers had finished its initial Kickstarter campaign, raised additional funds, and booked a recording session at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. The CD was released December 5, 2017.
Notes and text | Download at iTunes | Amazon | Google Play
Lou Harrison: La Koro Sutro
La Koro Sutro, sung entirely in Esperanto and accompanied by an American gamelan — built for performances in Boston and Providence by our friends at the Boston Modern Orchestra Project — was exotic, immediately engaging, and unlike anything the Singers had encountered before or performed since. BMOP paired the Singers’ recording of La Koro Sutro with Harrison’s Suite for Violin and American Gamelan to make an extraordinary CD, released in July 2014. Program Notes | Read the Globe’s review
Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale
Jonah was a difficult prophet. He tried to wriggle out of divine assignments and whined loudly enough to annoy even God. Dominick Argento used medieval poetry, the Book of Jonah and other sources to prepare the libretto for this composition, preserving ancient alliterations and a great deal of wit and charm: “Even the casual listener will notice that the whale (the trombone solo in the Intermezzo section) gets the best tune in the work. And this is as it should be since I consider the whale, not Jonah, to be the hero of the piece.” Notes on the work ...
Lukas Foss: The Prairie
Lukas Foss fled Nazi Germany with his family – first to Paris in 1933 and then to the United States in 1937. He was 15 when he arrived in Philadelphia to begin his studies at the Curtis Institute. Foss embraced his new homeland – “... as a boy of 15, I fell in love with America,” he said – becoming a U.S. citizen in 1942. He found Carl Sandburg’s poem when he was 19 and began almost immediately to set it to music, adapting it himself without a librettist. The Singers loved it as well. Notes and composer’s commentary ...