Coro de Cámara members at Overlook Park in White Rock. Courtesy photo
Jim Knudson is the guest cellist for the two upcoming performances of Coro de Cámara. Courtesy photo
BY ANNE MARSH
“The cold demands a silence of the land, a looking inward…” Thus begins the poem by Tara Wohlberg that inspired Coro de Cámara’s upcoming concert, “Winter Wonder.” The popular chamber chorus will give two performances:
Saturday, February 26, 7:00 pm, White Rock United Methodist Church (580 Meadow Lane)
Sunday, February 27, 3:00pm, United Church of Los Alamos (2525 Canyon Road)
Coro de Cámara’s Artistic Director Nylea Butler-Moore says, “Some people don’t like winter. Having grown up in the balmy southeast, I was one of those people! But Wohlberg’s poem and its choral setting have given me a new appreciation of the season. Our program opens with this song’s vivid imagery of winter’s dance and its invitation to quiet reflection. Many poems talk about longing for spring, but I wanted to do a program that stays focused on the wonders of winter.”
Audiences will also hear Eric Whitaker’s “Glow,” which paints a picture of softly falling snow. “It’s almost like a snow globe,” says Butler-Moore, “and it sets the stage for the showpiece of the program, “A Winter Day,” by contemporary Canadian composer Sarah Quartel.” The five movements of this piece take us from dawn to nightfall, with texts by poets Sara Teasdale, Lucy Maude Montgomery (of Anne of Green Gables fame), and Melville Cane. Four of the five movements of “A Winter Day” feature the artistry of guest cellist Jim Knudson.
The mood shifts as pianist Yelena Mealy and violist Kathy Gursky offer a Piano Guys arrangement of “Let It Go,” from Frozen and “Winter,” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Coro sopranos and altos then sing “Snow,” with music by British composer Edward Elgar and words by his wife Caroline Alice Elgar. Violin and viola accompany this gem for women’s voices.
Nylea Butler-Moore notes, “Winter is about sports and fun as well as beauty and introspection, so we wanted to include some light-hearted pieces. We’ve got a snow poem by Ogden Nash, followed by excerpts from “Les Patineurs (The Skaters)” by Emilé Waldteufel, played by young pianist Tate Plohr. Then the Coro singers offer “Jack Frost,” a playful, madrigal-like piece by John Hatton.”
The concert concludes with two settings of the same Shakespeare text, a song from As You Like It that begins “Blow, blow thou winter wind.” Butler-Moore says, “We are singing these pieces back-to-back to show how two composers can approach the same text in very different ways. Such a diversity of musical expression and creativity! We’ll first sing African-American composer Brandon Williams’ interpretation, which uses aggressive rhythms and syncopation to give us the feeling of a biting wind. We’ll close the concert with well-known choral composer John Rutter’s version, which is more contemplative and ends very quietly.”
Tickets for “Winter Wonder” are $20 for adults and $10 for college students, with free admission for 18 and under. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online through the Coro de Cámara website (corodecamara-nm.org). Vaccination is expected and masks must be worn.