WYNN WALTERS |Special to The Standard
UXBRIDGE: Spring is scheduled to come to Uxbridge starting on Sunday, Feb. 22. It’s being brought to town by the Uxbridge Chamber Choir, in a concert designed to lift the spirits and drive away the winter blahs.
“It’s all about light-hearted gypsies and flowers, and upbeat music,” says Mark Fabbi, the choir’s president. “Our last concert was somber and reflective, appropriate for Remembrance Day, so we thought a change would be good for mid-winter.”
The main work on the program will be a series of light and bouncy songs revolving around gypsies and love, called “Gypsy Songs” (or Zigeunerlieder) by Johannes Brahms.
The cycle of 11 short songs is performed with a very dynamic virtuoso piano accompaniment, played by Anne Mizen Baker. “It’s a real pianistic workout,” says Anne, “but a lot of fun.”
The theme of the concert is “The Art of the Song”. The choir, directed by Thomas Baker, will also perform three other cycles of songs. There will be the “Five Flower Songs” by Benjamin Britten, which speak of the coming of spring and summer. Three songs by Samuel Barber have a little more sombre tone.
Of particular local interest is the cycle of works by Canadian composer John Beckwith called “Sharon Fragments”. The texts are from the writings of David Willson, founder and patriarch of the Children of Peace, in Sharon, 25 km. west of Uxbridge.
Willson came to Canada as a farmhand in 1802. Religious visions and disagreements with the Quakers led him to found the Sharon Community.
Many Uxbridge residents will know of the Sharon Temple, completed in 1832, which still serves as a venue for concerts and as a museum. “The Chamber Choir has sung in the Sharon Temple in years gone by,” said Tom Baker, “so it is fitting that we revisit the music associated with this local landmark.” Willson wrote the texts for some 600 hymns, and was ahead of his time in championing education for girls and respect for Jewish people.
The sect dwindled and died after his death; but the temple in Sharon remains in its place.
The Chamber Choir concert will be held at Trinity United Church on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. Tickets ($20, $15 for students) are available at Presents, Presents and Blue Heron Books, and at the door.
For further information, please contact Wynn Walters at 905-649-3330.
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