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The Cecilia Chorus Of New York Hosts Remote Watch Party For The Belshazzar Project

The Cecilia Chorus Of New York Hosts Remote Watch Party For The Belshazzar Project

The Cecilia Chorus of New York will host a remote watch party for The Belshazzar Project on Monday, April 13 @ 7:30 PM at

This multigenre concert experience devised by Music Director and six-time ASCAP Programming Award winner Mark Shapiro, featuring music and spoken words inspired by the story of Belshazzar, the last king of the ancient Babylonian empire, was performed and recorded on March 7 at Manhattan's Church of St. Francis Xavier.

The performance includes music by Alexandre Guilmant, Handel, Arseny Koreshchenko, Rossini, Schumann, Americans Johnny Cash, Harold Rome, and Penny Prince, along with poems and texts by Lord Byron, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and more explore the meaning of the writing on the wall and the consequences of being weighed in the balance and found wanting. The history of Belshazzar, and the account of his undoing in the Book of Daniel ground this varied repertoire in interpretations of a single, timeless theme.

The performance features acclaimed actor Kathleen Chalfant, along with Chance Jonas-O'Toole, tenor; Thomas West, baritone; Liana Harper Cruz and Bryan C. Paredes, actor/singers; and James Wetzel, organ. Soloist bios are available at

Music Director Shapiro said, "With all that is in the news, our March 7th standing-room-only performance of The Belshazzar Project was utterly electrifying. Together with those in the packed house, The Cecilia Chorus of New York experienced something extraordinary as the timeless story of a feckless king whose destruction is brought about by his own malfeasance came to vivid life in music and prose. Rap, country music, and a show tune were woven through a sequence of classical selections in five languages. Actor Kathleen Chalfant raised goosebumps with spoken texts ranging from the King James Bible through Emily Dickinson.

When, at the end of the evening, the audience joined us in the refrain to Harold Rome's "Mene Mene Tekel", we knew we were experiencing something special. We're happy to be able to offer a virtual encore to a wider audience via YouTube Live."

The watch party is free and open to the public, but donations will be accepted.

Founded in 1906, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, winner of the ASCAP/Chorus America Alice Parker Award, has evolved into one of the finest avocational performing arts organizations in New York City. The 150-voice chorus has been described as "reliably venturesome" (The New Yorker, 2017) and "admirable," (New York Times, 2017). Recent highlights have included commissions from The Brothers Balliett, Jonathan Breit, Tom Cipullo, and Raphael Fusco; collaborations with actor Stephen Spinella and opera singers Julia Bullock and Ryan Speedo Green; the New York premieres in Carnegie Hall of the Mass in D and The Prison by Dame Ethel Smyth and the World Premiere of Fifty Trillion Molecular Geniuses by The Brothers Balliett. Much more at

Mark Shapiro was appointed the seventh Music Director of The Cecilia Chorus of New York in 2011. Music Director of The Prince Edward Island Symphony and Artistic Director of Cantori New York, he is one of a handful of artistic leaders in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award six times, achieving the unique distinction of winning such an award with three different ensembles. The New York Times has characterized his conducting as "insightful" and acknowledged its "virtuosity and assurance," and "uncommon polish." The Star-Ledger calls his artistic leadership "erudite and far-reaching." Bio at

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