Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Celebration

The following post was written by VocalEssence Founder and Artistic Director Philip Brunelle.

It has been a very exciting day in London—people are really keen to celebrate our inauguration. Once someone knows you are from the USA they offer hardy congratulations and extend best wishes for success to President Obama. It is very effusive—not typical English reserve!

Our all-American repertoire concert was sung beautifully by the Ensemble Singers (as they have sung throughout the tour—really extraordinary singing!) I felt this evening an extra sense of emotion in the singing as they performed this music, and thought of the events in Washington D.C.

We began with music from Revolutionary War times by William Billings and then jumped to the present with Minnesota composers Stephen Paulus and Brent Michael Davids; folks were fascinated by the tonal choral sounds in Davids’ Native American music. The first half of the concert included music by Rorem, Copland, Stephen Foster, and Eric Whitacre. It was a marvelous study in contrasts and the audience loved it!

For the second half, we presented music by Bernstein, some spirituals, and folk song settings. We closed the concert with a special celebration of the inauguration by singing words of Thomas Jefferson (music of Randall Thompson), the melody “America” (which the Brits know as “God Save the Queen”) with sweet, nostalgic words by Garrison Keillor, and finally concluded with words and music harkening back to the time of Abraham Lincoln: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” What a celebration! Be sure to check out today's photo diary!

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