Many of my friends and colleagues know that I am singer in addition to being a REALTOR. As expected, the DC area is host to numerous commemorative concerts and performances in the coming days. I am happy to be a part of one of them. I've invited guest blogger C.H. Dulmage to write about our upcoming concert. I certainly hope those of you in our area can make it.
Local Artists Join Forces to Mark the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
By C.H. Dulmage
As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 draws near, we will be no doubt inundated with the images of that day through television, newspapers and commemorative editions of popular magazines. Our collective consciousness remembers the tremendous loss of life, yet since that day, has continued to seek meaning and hope out of the tragedy.
In that same spirit of hope, The Choralis Foundation of Falls Church, Virginia opted to bring together the talents of its several choral ensembles, local composer Gary Davison, and renowned local bugler Sgt. Major Woodrow “Woody” English, to present a moving concert-- In Search of Peace.
The centerpiece of this concert is an original work of choral music that The Choralis Foundation commissioned from Davison specifically for this occasion. Choralis’ founder and Artistic Director, Gretchen Kuhrmann, and the Choralis Foundation Board approached Davison to write an original choral piece that would express the emotions of 9/11, but also hopefulness for the future. Davison, in collaboration with local poet Margaret (Peggy) Ingraham, who penned an inspiring text, composed a piece entitled “Shadow Tides” for orchestra, soprano soloist, and adult and children’s choruses. The work premiere on Sunday, September 11th, at The National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C. at 4 p.m.
Davison is excited to be hearing his work come off the page as he attends the choral rehearsals led by Maestra Kuhrmann. "I wanted Shadow Tides to trace the emotional journey that 9/11 set in motion," says Davison, the Organist and Choirmaster at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac, MD. "Peggy's poem so movingly portrays this path by using the seasons as metaphors for what is ultimately a cycle of grieving, individually and corporately. The work begins with Summer, idyllic and somewhat complacent. Autumn begins with the natural changes of the fall season, only to turn quickly to the unnatural changes – and fall – wrought by the terrorist attacks. Winter's static state ensues, a parallel to the shock of the unspeakable horror and loss. Inevitably, as we experience each year, Spring comes at last and the process of rebirth takes place as it must, and not seldom by dramatic means. As a conclusion, I've used Isaac Watts' incomparable hymn, O God, Our Help in Ages Past, which sums up so perfectly Peggy's sublime poetic text and our collaborative vision of hope."
Maestra Gretchen Kuhrmann and composer Gary Davison review a section of Shadow Tides.
“Gary has great sensitivity for setting text, which perfectly captures the mood and emotional impact we wanted to achieve. He employs the treble choir, which will be placed in the balcony at National Presbyterian, to great effect, and brilliantly contrasts the children’s sound with the haunting soprano solo lines,” Kuhrmann noted.
When thinking about the flow and content of this concert, Kuhrmann had no doubt that one element would be a given: the playing of Taps by well-known U.S. Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”) bugler Sgt. Major (Ret.) Woodrow English, who has been called upon to play Taps for many high-level memorial services, including those for Ronald Reagan and Ted Kennedy. Indeed, his haunting rendition of Taps has been recorded for use whenever an Army bugler is not available to perform in person. English, who was a member of the U.S. Army Brass Quintet, performs in local brass ensembles and free-lances as an orchestral trumpeter, and has a long history of performances with Maestra Kuhrmann and Choralis. He was eager to participate in this commemorative event, citing the symbolic significance of mourning not only the lives of the military and civilians lost on 9/11, but the nearly 6,000 military personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since.
The In Search of Peace concert will be rounded out with Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings as well as additional choral offerings including the Dona Nobis Pacem from Bach’s Mass in B Minor. In keeping with the tone and goal of a concert titled In Search of Peace, the program will include readings from a variety of spiritual and philosophical perspectives.
Choralis at the Music Center @ Strathmore, March 2011. (Cathy Baumbusch is 8th from the right)
“We wanted to create a choral gift to the DC community through this performance,” said Kuhrmann, “and our hope is that the overall effect will be reverent, peaceful and healing.” Through the Pentagon Memorial Fund, The Choralis Foundation is offering 300 tickets to area organizations and individuals with personal connections to the 9/11 attacks, including families and survivors from the Pentagon and first responders from local police and fire departments, as well as veterans and their families.
For tickets, go to www.choralis.org or call 703-237-2499.