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The New York Choral Society Ends Virtual Season With Gala and World Premiere

Celebrating Our Voices, a live stream 60-minute virtual gala, will feature performances by soprano Gabriella Reyes, counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo and more.

The New York Choral Society Ends Virtual Season With Gala and World Premiere

The New York Choral Society is celebrating their virtual Spring season on a high note on May 11, 2021 with a Gala of special musical guests and the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon's Invitation to Love. With two events streaming back-to-back, the evening invites friends and supporters to celebrate new works and the resilience of local and multi-disciplinary artists, while also raising funds to sustain their mission for next season and beyond.

A 2020-2021 season that has been hallmarked by the production of collaborative video performances of reimagined and socially relevant a cappella choral music, NYCHORAL will host Celebrating Our Voices a live stream 60-minute virtual gala that will feature performances by soprano Gabriella Reyes, straight the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House, famed counter-tenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, the internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Brandon Cedel and surprise appearances by Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning guests as the chorus celebrates a successful and creative season of innovation and resilience with a hopeful look to the future.

Ticket holders will also have a first look at the chorus' latest art collaboration, Invitation to Love, by Pulitzer Prize and multi-Grammy winning composer Jennifer Higdon, and sculptor and performance maker Gordon Hall. Guests are invited to participate in a silent auction to win prizes that include vacation rentals, art and virtual concerts while having a front row seat to an exclusive discussion between the company's most recent collaborators Higdon, Hall and NYCHORAL Music Director David Hayes. A 60- minute program steaming at 7:00pm, tickets to this virtual gala start at just $20 and available for purchase at http://bit.ly/CelebratingOurVoices

Board of Trustees Chair Michael Colosi notes: "We are excited and grateful to be joined by this amazing group of artists for this wonderful evening of music, creativity and community to support The New York Choral Society and to celebrate our innovative and inclusive season of great choral music"

Following the Gala, the company will stream Invitation to Love on their YouTube channel, offering wider audiences the chance to view the fifth and final installation of their Our Voices digital season. Rooted in Paul Laurence Dunbar's Civil War era poem titled Invitation to Love, the work, composed by Higdon in 2016 reflects the vulnerability in desire, the longing for connection, and the relief from alienation in both easy and hard times. Highlighting beauty in the action of wanting, Hall, through layered videos of moving bodies and objects piling up on the desktop computer screen, creates a choreography between disparate times and places, while defining the personal computer screen as an important site of desire and connection-an object we have relayed on implicitly over the last year. A visual diary of thoughts, memories, people and places, the film is a symbolic dance of visual and emotional avalanche of thoughts, memories and longing that mimic the speed, pace and intrusive nature of a desktops open applications: images, text messages, words, video, questions, answers and connection.

"While I am primarily a sculptor making live performance, I wanted to see how I could choreograph using the space of the screen itself or think about the videos themselves as materials to sculpt with," considers Hall. "Much like Dunbar's poem muses, I've called upon themes of solitude, longing and exploring different spaces with my body, in addition to my archive of rehearsals and improvisations in different locations over the past eight years of my career to create something resonate of the time we are living in today," they continue.

"The typical format for choral performances does not take advantage of the many creative possibilities of video and film, like this does," adds Music Director David Hayes. "In this unique piece and all season long, we are exploring a new, more original direction in creating video performances of choral works sung by our chorus in collaboration with artists, choreographers and videographers to create productions that will attune viewers' attention to the performance of the choral works while offering a more satisfying visual experience. This innovative piece is the perfect way to close this incredible season"

With the full chorus including more than 150 voices, ages 19-90, Invitation to Love will include just 40 singers. The company most recently premiered Mother to Son in collaboration with Francesca Harper,

God is Seen in collaboration with choreographer Claudia Schreier, A Carol for All Children in collaboration with artist Brendan Fernandes and Peace unto Zion, in collaboration with artist Joyce McDonald, to explore themes of racial inequality, loss and hope.

All shorts stream on https://www.nychoral.org and the company's YouTube page

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

May 11, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.: OUR VOICES Gala

Tickets start at $20 and available for purchase at http://bit.ly/CelebratingOurVoices

May 11, 2021 at 8:00 pm.: Invitation to Love FREE stream

REPERTORY NOTES

Presenting company: The New York Choral Society

Title of work: NYCHORAL presents Invitation to Love

Director credit: David Hayes, Music Director; Rosanne Zoccoli, Director

Artist credit: Gordon Hall

Music credit: Invitation to Love (Paul Laurence Dunbar) - Jennifer Higdon

Director of Photography: Tim Cothren

Video Editor: Vito De Candia

Sound Engineer: Carmen Borgia

Producer: Steve Heller

Length: 6 minutes

This short film features singers of The New York Choral Society performing Jennifer Higdon's Invitation to Love in collaboration with sculptor and performance maker Gordon Hall. Based on a poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar, one of the most influential Black poets in American literature, Higdon's composition expresses sentiments of longing, hopefulness and unconditional love, while emphasizing the space of our personal computer screens as an important site of desire and connection. Layered videos of moving bodies and objects pile up on the desktop to produce a choreography between disparate times and places.

The New York Choral Society's programs and performance made possible in part by the generous support of The New York State Council on the Arts, The John N. Blackman Sr. Foundation, and The Rae Charitable Trust."


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