Thanksgiving

Date/Time

November 19, 2017
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

 
Location

Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist

 

Check out the Journal Sentinel’s article!

 

A Milwaukee tradition, Present Music’s annual Thanksgiving concert will include the world premiere of a new piece we are commissioning from composer Ingram Marshall, including our Hearing Voices vocal ensemble, Reagan High School Choir, the Present Music Ensemble, the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group, and featuring soloist Lindsay Kesselman, soprano. Under the direction of Artistic Director Kevin Stalheim and in the resounding acoustics of the cathedral, the concert creates a unique and temporary community of listeners, who join in the performance in a closing Friendship Dance.  Ingram Marshall will be present at the concert.  This performance is not recommended for children under the age of 10.

The Present Music Ensemble will be joined by Alleluia Grace composer Ingram Marshall, the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group, soprano Lindsay Kesselman, and the voices of the Hearing Voices Ensemble, and the Reagan High School ChoirThe evening ends with an opportunity to join in a Native American Friendship Dance.

The Program
Opening Song  by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group
Their Passing in Time by Richard Reed Parry
The Pieces That Fall to Earth by Christopher Cerrone
‘Tar o Pood’ (Warp and Weft) by Sahba Aminikia
Grace (world premiere) by Ingram Marshall
The Promise of Living by Aaron Copland
Friendship Dance by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group
Closing Song by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group

Program subject to change.

ADDITIONAL PROGRAM DETAILS:


Opening Song by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group

The Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group has opened each of Present Music’s Thanksgiving concerts since 2000. It also closes the concerts with an audience-participation round dance.

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Their Passing in Time by Richard Reed Parry

Richard Reed Parry is a Canadian composer who is also known as a member of the indie rock band, Arcade Fire.  In 2014 he released a solo album of contemporary classical music based on the beating of the human heart.  His work, Their Passing in Time, is a simple and beautiful work.  It was recently performed and recorded by the Brooklyn Youth Choir as a part of an CD of new music.

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The Pieces That Fall to Earth by Christopher Cerrone

Young composer Christopher Cerrone is a Present Music favorite, who composed a work for Present Music and attended the 2015 Thanksgiving concert in Milwaukee, when it was premiered.   Cerrone was looking for a woman poet as inspiration for a song cycle when he was introduced to the poems of Kay Ryan.  Cerrone said, “Reading through her poems, I was deeply inspired and almost immediately sketched out the first eponymous song of the cycle, The Pieces that Fall to Earth.”

Kay Ryan’s poems do not start with imagery or sound, but rather develop “the way an oyster does, with an aggravation.” Critics of Ryan’s work describe its essence; “Each poem twists around and back upon its argument like a river retracing its path; they are didactic in spirit, but a bedrock wit supports them.”     In her short poem Shark’s Tooth, Ryan touched on a concept that immediately spoke to Cerrone:

“Noise gets
its zest from the
small shark’s-tooth
shaped fragments
of rest angled
in it.”

Additional Links:


‘Tar o Pood’ (Warp and Weft) by Sahba Aminikia

Sahba Aminikia is an Iranian/Canadian composer who was born and raised in Tehran.

Aminikia has said, “Life in Tehran taught me to appreciate hardship and beauty at the same time, and this is something that, due to heavy media propaganda, is mainly obscured in Western minds. I was brought up with the poetry of Hafiz, Rumi, and Saadi, and with Persian classical music, but was also largely exposed to the music of Pink Floyd, Beatles, Queen, and various jazz musicians. This conflict between the morals of a theocracy and Western cultural imports also exists in my mind, and I see it as a life process towards finding a common ground for communication and dialogue in my music.”

For Tar o Pood, Sahba traveled though Iran recording the sounds made during rug weaving. During the performance the musicians wear headphones to play along with recorded work songs sung by Iranian weavers and the sounds of weaving interspersed in the piece.

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Alleluia Grace (world premiere) by Ingram Marshall

American Composer Ingram Marshall has composed a rich body of work, often using ambient and evocative sounds to create experiences unique to the listener.  Described as creating musical landscapes of mists and mysterious places that afford moments of strange lucidity, his most widely-heard work appears on the soundtrack of the movie “Shutter Island”.   Milwaukee audiences may be most familiar with his Fogtropes works in which recorded fog horns become the bass note in what a 2009 Shepard Express reviewer called an “attractive, rather melancholy and slow-moving soundscape-landscape-seascape.”

Alleluia Grace, the newly commissioned work, asks how long must we wait to find grace.  The piece uses a 5-second Digital Delay, intended to add a rich shimmering quality to the strings and voices as they travel in the Cathedral.

Additional Links:


The Promise of Living by Aaron Copland

Aaron Copland wrote this piece as part of an Opera inspired by the Depression-era photographs of Walker Evans.  Subtitled “The Thanksgiving Song”, The Promise of Living lyrics express gratitude for the living, growing, giving and ending processes and communities of our lives.

Copland is known for his distinctive musical characterization of American themes in an expressive modern style. His best-known works may be Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man.

Additional Links:


Friendship Dance by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group

Closing Song by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group


Featured Artist

Lindsay Kesselman, soprano, has been hailed by Fanfare Magazine as an “artist of growing reputation for her artistry and intelligence….with a voice of a goddess-like-splendor”.  A soprano who passionately advocates for contemporary music, actively commissioning and collaborating with a diverse array of composers to create unique, groundbreaking, and dramatically-inspired works for the voice.

Additional Links:


This concert is funded in part through a grant from the City of Milwaukee Arts Board and the Wisconsin Arts Board. Present Music’s Thanksgiving concert and the Commission of Ingram Marshall’s new work, Grace, piece have been generously supported by John Shannon and Jan Serr.

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