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Grief Into Art

“We musicians, like everyone else, are numb with sorrow at this murder, and with rage at the senselessness of the crime. But this sorrow and rage will not inflame us to seek retribution; rather they will inflame our art. Our music will never again be quite the same. This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

~ Leonard Bernstein, November 1963

Bernstein’s words in the days after the assassination of John F. Kennedy have echoed, yet again, through the music community. And indeed, for many of us, it’s at least a way forward, and offers us a plan of action, in a time of feeling completely paralyzed and powerless. We are heeding his words.

Ars Nova Singers is engaged in preparing a dramatically contemporaneous, powerful project with our concerts next week entitled MADE REAL. Our program is a mirror, reflecting our times in ways both subtle and direct, from the tender, timeless poignancy of Pizzetti’s ethereal Requiem (taking on a new depth of emotion this week) to an amazing new work composed last year that references and poetically comments on issues such as global climate change; racial inequality and the protest movements surrounding this issue; the soaring legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; immigration and migration; even a reference to the difficulty of just breathing during this pandemic. I encourage you to come and experience how this can all be transformed through poetry and music into art. Important, living art. New art.

We will share the stage with our dear friend guitarist Nicolò Spera to present the Colorado premiere of this new work for classical guitar and chorus that he commissioned from composer Christopher Theofanidis, entitled Door Out of the Fire.  Setting a selection of poetry by the awarding-winning writer Melissa Studdard, this substantial new work is immediately engaging, energetic, and fun for the 8-part chorus. Mezzo-soprano Abigail Nims poetically embodies the late Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, in a movement called “Ruth’s Aria.” Throughout, the guitar ties everything together, and serves as “the contemplative soul of the piece,” in the composer’s words.

I DO hope you’ll join us for this extraordinary program on June 3, 4, or 5!

~ Tom Morgan, Artistic Director

From Movement 1, “Burning Cathedral”
Words by Melissa Studdard

I walk into what’s burning
and burn myself with it –

because every time I veiw the news,
there’s another story to bandage,
another tragedy to bury.

I can’t plant fast enough:
the trees in my yard, the heart
in my garden.


Friday, June 3, 2022, 7:30pm
St. Paul Community of Faith, Denver

Saturday, June 4, 2022, 7:30pm
First United Methodist Church, Boulder

Sunday, June 5, 2022, 7:00pm
Stewart Auditorium at the Longmont Museum, Longmont

Concert Sponsor: The Millstone Evans Group