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VOCES8 Foundation to Present The Crossing In Online Festival


Michael Gilbertson's 20-minute Returning is loosely based on the biblical story of Jonathan and David; exploring what draws one human to another.

VOCES8 Foundation to Present The Crossing In Online Festival

On Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 2pm EST/7pm GMT, the VOCES8 Foundation will present Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing as part of its fifth online festival, LIVE From London - Christmas 2021. Led by conductor Donald Nally, The Crossing's program Returning, filmed on the 20th anniversary of September 11, marked the ensemble's first indoor concert in 20 months and featured signature works of the recent past: Ayanna Woods' SHIFT, Michael Gilbertson's Returning, ?'riks Ešenvalds' Earth Teach Me Quiet with percussionist Ted Babcock, "Gloria" and "Agnus Dei" from James Primosch's Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus, John Tavener's Funeral Ikos, and Hubert Parry's Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. The broadcast also includes a Young Performer spotlight performance from Hartt Voices with Anthony Trecek-King. On December 3, 2021, LIVE From London will release a video of Leila Adu-Gilmore's Carol After a Plague Colouring-In Book on Apple Music.

Nally says, "Returning is a celebration of works we love, sung with artists and for people we love, marking a time of isolation, grief, confusion, hope, and returning. It's a homecoming that everyone, regardless of geographic location, will recognize, after our globally-shared pandemic experiences. But, it is not a program focused solely on loss; rather, it celebrates our world and the people in it."

The Crossing premiered Ayanna Woods' Shift digitally with a film on November 2, 2020, the day before the general election. Subsequently, the expanded version premiered at The Crossing's Month of Moderns in June 2021 and its residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky Montana this month. Woods wrote the words for this bold new piece in which she contemplates the reimagining of our monuments, building through layers to its climactic arrival, "bursting through the cracks in the story you tell, America." Watch the Shift film, part of The Crossing's 2020 Election Films series.

Michael Gilbertson's 20-minute Returning is loosely based on the biblical story of Jonathan and David; exploring what draws one human to another. It reflects The Crossing's season theme: return / emerge / remember. Earth Teach Me Quiet by ?'riks Ešenvalds is featured on the ensemble's critically acclaimed live album Rising w/ The Crossing (New Focus 2020), which was nominated for a 2022 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance, and named NPR's December 2020 album of the month, and the track was named one of The New York Times' 25 Best Classical Tracks of 2020.

The program continues with two movements, "Gloria" and "Agnus Dei" from James Primosch's Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus, which was written for The Crossing in 2014, featured on the ensemble's 2020 album CARTHAGE (Parma), and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Choral Recording. Finally, Funeral Ikos by John Tavener, a work that reaches back to the ensemble's beginnings and their residency at the Spoleto Festival in Italy in 2007, remembers those we have lost, including James Primosch, in April 2021.

Though turn-of-the-20th-century composer C. Hubert H. Parry's music would seem out of place in most concerts of The Crossing, this moment looking back and forward inspired Nally to program his "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind," as a reference to The Crossing's roots at St. Mark's Church, Locust Street (Philadelphia), and this is the same for the encore, Parry's "I was glad when they said unto me." Both were favorites of the Choir of St. Mark's, from which came the founding members of The Crossing.

The VOCES8 Foundation's LIVE From London - Christmas 2021 will broadcast 13 concerts from December 4, 2021 to January 6, 2022. The festival features some of the finest choral and orchestral musicians from around the world, led by vocal ensembles VOCES8, The King's Singers, I Fagiolini, Gabrieli Consort & Players, Stile Antico, Apollo5, soprano Mary Bevan, countertenor Tim Mead, violinists Jack Liebeck and Rachel Podger, actors Richard Leaf and Tamsin Greig, and US guests, The Crossing and St Olaf College. The Festival was the first of its kind responding to the pandemic, its unique economic structure raising money for the artists involved, other arts organizations, and raising money for education and outreach. It has sold tickets in over 75 countries worldwide, raised over £1 million for the arts, and presented and offered work to over 500 artists, composers, publishers, agents, producers and engineers, remunerating them through a new economic model which priced public tickets affordably (without any external financial support), then paying its creatives fairly through a uniquely collaborative model later praised in The Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Performance Information

The VOCES8 Foundation Presents The Crossing in Returning, Part of LIVE From London - Christmas 2021
Sunday, December 5, 2021 at 2pm EST/7pm GMT
Available to watch live or on demand until January 15, 2022
Tickets: $25 Single Tickets. $110 Season Pass for 9 Concerts (Dec. 4-25).

?'RIKS EŠENVALDS: Earth Teach Me Quiet
JAMES PRIMOSCH: Mass for the Day of St. Thomas Didymus: Gloria and Agnus Dei
JOHN TAVENER: Funeral Ikos
HUBERT PARRY (ARR. H.A. CHAMBERS): Dear Lord and Father of Mankind

Donald Nally, conductor
Ted Babcock, marimba
Scott Dettra, organ
John Grecia, keyboards
Thomas Mesa, cello

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