Special commission debuts singer’s poem as choral composition
McGRATHPR.com – Concord Women’s Chorus (CWC), fostering the power of women’s voices in song, premieres a special commission in “Grown Wild,” a choral concert, on Sunday, October 23, 4 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 81 Elm Street, Concord. The performance is conducted by Artistic Director Jane Ring Frank, with accompaniment by Alexander Lane, piano, featuring soloist Beth Welty, violin. A preconcert talk featuring Melissa Dunphy, composer and Melissa Apperson, poet and singer, precedes the performance at 3 pm, moderated by Jane Ring Frank.
“After a long and challenging road, it is joyful and exciting to bring the new commission ‘Grown Wild’ into musical being. Melissa Dunphy and Melissa Apperson have given the chorus a gift, and it is our privilege to rehearse and premiere this beautiful work,” shares Ring Frank.
“Grown Wild” features a commissioned work by composer Melissa Dunphy based on the poem of the same title by CWC member singer and poet Melissa Apperson. Scored for women’s voices, violin and piano, the new work is written specifically for CWC’s distinctive sound. This gorgeous and lush piece sits at the heart of a program featuring women composers, with works from the nineteenth century to today. Included on the program is music by Pauline Viardot, Cecile Chaminade, Rebecca Luengen, Cynthia Folio, Erna Woll, Emma Lou Diemer and more.
“It’s always a wonderful privilege to collaborate with a contemporary poet when creating music, and the opportunity to set Melissa Apperson’s poem was no exception. I was drawn to the poignant sense of both nostalgia and life-affirming anticipation in this piece and can’t wait to hear it sung live for the first time by the voices of Concord Women’s Chorus,” shares Dunphy.
Composer Melissa Dunphy specializes in political, vocal, and theatrical music. She first came to national attention when her large-scale work the Gonzales Cantata was featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, National Review, Fox News, and on The Rachel Maddow Show, and was staged by American Opera Theater in a sold-out run. Other notable works include the song cycle “Tesla’s Pigeon,” which won first place in the NATS Art Song Composition Award, and choral work “What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?” which won the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Competition and has been performed by ensembles including Chanticleer and Cantus. Dunphy is the recipient of a 2020 Opera America Discovery Grant for Alice Tierney, a new opera commission by Oberlin Conservatory set to premiere in 2023. She has been composer-in-residence for the Immaculata Symphony Orchestra, Volti, and the St. Louis Chamber Chorus. In addition to her concert and choral music, she is a Barrymore Award-nominated theater composer and sound designer and is Director of Music Composition for the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference. Dunphy has a Ph.D. in composition from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.M. from West Chester University.
CWC member/poet Melissa Apperson writes spare, lyrical poetry. Her work has been published in numerous literary journals. Apperson’s poems typically examine interiority and longing, bringing subjects such as human relationships, a sense of place, a sense of oneself, a specific object, or a moment at dusk into high relief. She particularly values emotion, mystery, and imagery in poetry. Many of her poems contain references to literature, and, on occasion, to societal and political concerns. Apperson has been a member of Concord Women’s Chorus for over 20 years and was involved in developing the texts for the chorus’s previous commissions. (Concord Fragments contains another of her poems.) She holds a B.A. in Music from Wellesley College and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She studied poetry at Lesley University.
Audience members are required to provide ID and proof of full COVID-19 vaccination (including booster) and to wear a mask at all times.
Tickets to “Grown Wild” are $25 adults, $20 seniors and students, $5 children ages 12 and under, available at concordwomenschorus.org/wp/purchase-tickets and at the door. Trinity Episcopal Church is handicap accessible. For more information, performance details or to join Concord Women’s Chorus, email Chorus Manager Patsy Eickelberg at [email protected], visit concordwomenschorus.org, or follow Concord Women’s Chorus on Facebook and Instagram.
About Concord Women’s Chorus
Concord Women’s Chorus (CWC), based in Concord, Massachusetts, is a 45-singer ensemble fostering the power in women’s voices through song. Singers hail from Concord and the greater Boston area. Artistic Director Jane Ring Frank conducts the chorus performing a wide variety of choral music, ranging from early music to contemporary repertoire, with an emphasis on works written for women’s voices.
CWC’s commitment to the mastery and performance of a dynamic repertoire for women transforms the act of choral singing into an instrument for collaboration, education, and connection. The ensemble features confident singers who care deeply about creating, through women’s voices, a source of strength and inspiration for themselves, the audience, and the world around us.
The chorus began in 1960 as the Concord Madrigals, a small group of women who expressed, through song, the strength of female community. Over the years the group has increased in size and capacity and greatly expanded its repertoire. In 2005, the Concord Madrigals became Concord Women’s Chorus, a name that reflects not only the evolution of the chorus but the abiding power of women’s voices.
In addition to concerts, CWC often engages in other performances and projects. The ensemble has engaged in several concert tours in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. For more information or to join CWC, email Chorus Manager Patsy Eickelberg at [email protected], visit concordwomenschorus.org, or follow Concord Women’s Chorus on Facebook and Instagram.