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Mendelssohn Choir Of Pittsburgh Announces 2021-'22 Season Of Light And Imagination

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The choir of 100-plus voices seeks to engage a broad spectrum of the community with free shows and its first sensory-friendly event.

The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh has announced its 2021-'22 season. At 114 years in operation, MCP is the city's most celebrated chorus. Composed of approximately 120 singers, it is led by Robert Page Music Director Matthew Mehaffey.

MCP returns to live programming with a slate of performances celebrating light and imagination. Anchoring the season is The Promise of Light, running December 10-18. MCP is offering free admission to The Promise of Light thanks to the generous support of the Jack Buncher Foundation, in order to remove barriers to participation and engage with as many members of the community as possible.

The Promise of Light is a light-hearted meditation that draws from the vast wealth of music and poetry about winter, the solstice, the holidays, and most importantly, why we celebrate at the darkest time of the year. The 70-minute concert features music by some of choral music's most popular composers (Randall Thompson, ?'riks Ešenvalds), fresh new voices in choral music (Melissa Dunphy and Georgia Stitt), and well-known songs by the Fleet Foxes, Carole King, and Dolly Parton. The concert also includes seasonal poetry and reflections by the likes of Robert Frost, Ogden Nash, Mary Oliver, Amy Gerstler, Margaret Atwood, and Joseph Campbell.

"From the beginning of time, our ancestors looked forward to the longest night of the year. Why? As the days shortened, ancient peoples feared the sun would disappear completely, and deprive the world of heat, light and life; yet, the end did not come, and the sun granted them a reprieve from death with just a few seconds more of light," Mehaffey observes. "Thus, over the millennia, to celebrate the resurrection of the sun back into the cosmic cycle, and eventually the birth of godheads who bring light into the world, they made the winter solstice a day of celebration. All of them, in every corner of the globe, in every corner of history."

He adds, "Whatever you celebrate, when you celebrate, your soul shares something with that first someone who looked up at the sun standing still in the mid-winter sky and knew it was not an end but a beginning. And if we strip away the stress and demands of the holiday season that we have created for our modern selves, we will understand the absolute necessity to celebrate the joy that all humanity has felt at this time of year, across time - joy in the promise of light, and in new beginnings."


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