“A New Day – Imagine a World Transformed” is the season title of six October-to-March concerts coming soon to Green Valley.
With Eric Holtan leading the musicians of True Concord Voices and Orchestra, concert titles “Darkness to Light,” “From Conflict to Peace,” “From Anticipation to Joy,” “From Silenced to Singing,” “From the Edge to Hope” and “From Mourning to Dancing” mirror life these past 18 months.
Holtan selected the season and individual concert titles to reflect emerging from one condition to another. “Overall, these are meant to point to the ongoing emergence from the isolation, adversity and tragedy of the pandemic,” he said.
The first concert, “From Darkness to Light,” reflects the moment — stepping out of the darkness of adversity into the light of a new day. It will be held at Valley Presbyterian Church.
Did you select this topic yourself or get input from choir and orchestra members?
“As founding music director, my primary responsibility is choosing the music for our artists to perform. I glean ideas from all True Concord stakeholders, including artists, board members, staff and audience.
“As to the theme of this season, it seemed timely and appropriate to address through music that which we have all experienced together in the past year, including the tumult of the worldwide pandemic, which has heightened our awareness of racial injustice, the seemingly endless state of war and the threat of climate crisis.”
Was the decision for the “From the Edge to Hope” theme fairly unanimous?
“Dedicating a concert this season to the topic of climate was indeed universally embraced by True Concord’s stakeholders.
“While in some corners there is skepticism about the cause and severity of climate change, no one can deny the extraordinary misery caused by extreme weather that plagues our planet that seems to be intensifying.”
Once a concert theme is chosen, how do you select the music?
“This is one of the most difficult and important aspects of my work: finding and programming music that meets several criteria … True Concord is committed to the performance of masterworks (Bach’s B-Minor Mass) and the music of America’s cultural mosaic that includes the works that reflect the diversity of America (African-American spirituals, music of Latin American composers, etc.) and new works by America’s finest established and emerging composers.”
Three new works will be premiered, including Grammy-winning “Prayers and Remembrances” for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.
What do you consider to be one or two standout pieces in “From the Edge to Hope”?
“The centerpiece of this concert is the world premiere of a new work by American composter Jake Runestad. True Concord commissioned Jake and poet Todd Boss to create a piece that speaks to the urgent climate situation.
“All of the music on the program, including works from across the globe, reflects the theme of the need for care and renewal of the earth.”
Will any particular instruments be used to highlight the topic of the seriousness of climate change?
“Jake’s new work employs a full orchestra, all of the individual colors of which will be used to amplify the message of the text.”
The work is still being written, and as he always does, Holtan will prepare music in advance of each concert before the musicians assemble for rehearsals.
How do you adapt appropriate music to such a scientific theme of climate change?
“Music has a wide vocabulary, and the human voice and individual instruments have many colors from which to draw. Together, voices, instruments and musical language have an immense palette that can create many sounds and affects that communicate many emotions.
“And because we have the privilege of working with words, the marriage of music and words is especially powerful and communicative. All the music for “From the Edge to Hope” will communicate the urgency and severity of the situation, while at the same time communicating a sense of hope that is inherent in the possibility of change and renewal.”
How has the past year affected the artists and impacted the coming season?
“In the arts world, countless artists have gone without work and the opportunity to express themselves, given the shuttering of numerous concert halls, theaters and museums….
“We engaged our artists in two multi-week residencies, in which we isolated and regularly tested our artists for rehearsals, 23 live outdoor performances and seven video concert productions for online consumption through Arizona PBS.
“These efforts were recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts in a special report about reopening in the arts, and one of our video concert productions was nominated for an Emmy award.
“Most importantly, our artists had the opportunity to work and our audiences had the opportunity to experience music-making at a time when the world needed it most.”
Contact Green Valley News freelance reporter Ellen Sussman at email@example.com.