Why I sing
Mike Zarzycki | Bass
Making music is like solving a puzzle, and it is not something for which everyone has the aptitude. Mastering all the rhythms, dynamics, and harmonies appeals to my analytical side, but the other part of me craves the sheer beauty of the result, and it warms me to see that on the faces of the audience and my fellow musicians.
Young Men’s Choral Festival goes online
Anthony Trecek-King to lead YMCF
The Young Men’s Choral Festival — YMCF, the Providence Singers’ annual day-long choral workshop for young men of middle- and high-school age — goes online this year. Clinician Anthony Trecek-King, associate professor at the Hartt School of Music, will lead an online experience that includes vocal training with Paulo Faustini and a session on sight-singing and ear training with John Black, the Singers’ assistant conductor.
The 13th YMCF will begin online at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, January 30, 2021.
Information and online registration
Franz Biebl: Ave Maria
The Singers first performed music of Franz Biebl in the spring of 2015. His Ave Maria, composed in 1964, was popularized years later by Chanticleer and became the best-known of what Biebl described as his “little songs.” The Singers found, as the composer Wilbur Skeels observed, that “there is nothing ‘little’ about the quality of [Biebl’s] compositions.” Artistic Director Christine Noel has edited individual recordings of 68 singers into a new virtual choir performance.
Listen to it now on our YouTube channel.
You can also read the program notes and text.
The Wound in the Water
In May 2019 the Providence Singers presented Kim André Arnesen’s deeply moving 2016 work, The Wound in the Water. Using a libretto by the Welsh poet Euan Tait, Arnesen explores human exile, separation from a beautiful world, and diminished capacity for love, then points to a way forward, aiming at a shared song and the healing power of music.
The Singers now offers that work online, recorded in concert with a chamber orchestra, the first online offering of the season.
Listen to it now on our YouTube channel.
You can also read the program notes and text
Choral performance at a safe social distance
On Saturday, March 28, the Providence Singers and 300 patrons were to gather on the 17th floor of the Biltmore Hotel for a festive gala performance of music from the Broadway stage. That was not to be, of course, but a small group of members has produced a “Virtual Choir” performance of “Somewhere” from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.
Enjoy it now.
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 ...