The dramatic shift from day to night and the resulting play of light between the sun, moon, and numberless stars in the sky did not go unnoticed or unappreciated by U.S. poets from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. With words, they beautifully wove an appreciation for the natural cycles in nature and humankind's profound endeavor to understand and live within them. The Divine in Nature, Nightingale's latest program, presents a taste of such memorable poems with original musical settings by Nightingale members. The concert set, coincidentally Nightingale's international debut and featured in the 2021 edition of the Ketevan Sacred Music Festival, takes listeners on a journey through a day, from the light of day to the dark of midnight, as each piece describes a special moment along Earth's twenty-four hour light cycle.
The order of songs on the program reflects a logical flow through human time: Day ("Day" - Paul Laurence Dunbar) turns to afternoon ("a certain slant of light" - Emily Dickinson) which becomes evening ("An Hymn to the Evening - Phyllis Wheatley) which fades to night ("Night" - Paul Laurence Dunbar). The set ends with Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold can Stay,” emphasizing the ever changing dynamics of cosmic forces in our world which reflect the impermanent, precious nature of our human lives. We hope you enjoy listening to this virtual concert as much as we enjoyed recording and creating it. Thanks to Ketevan Sacred Music Festival.
This unique program was conceived of during the Fall of 2020 when, following Nightingale's first virtual concert, the group was invited by Dr. Santiago Girelli to participate in the 2021 Ketevan Sacred Music Festival, an annual gathering in Old Goa, India of myriad choirs and instrumentalists from diverse spiritual backgrounds and musical traditions from around the world. The theme of the festival is summarized in one word: coexistence. Nightingale is honored both by the invitation to participate in the festival by contributing a unique virtual concert program, but also to receive the opportunity to represent the native poetry of the United States, Nightingale's country of origin. Learn more about Ketevan at: https://www.ketevansacredmusicfestival.com/
Creating a Virtual Concert during a pandemic. The process of creating this program has been unique, given the challenges of the pandemic. Co-Artistic Directors Laura Nevitt and Benjamin Perry formed the concept of the program, selected poems which showcased a diverse group of U.S. poets, and crafted the concert's through-line. All pieces were composed by members of the ensemble: John Haukoos, Nicholas Ford, Kelvyn Koning, Benjamin Perry, and Laura Nevitt. To create the recordings, Nightingale’s sixteen core members met weekly for online zoom rehearsals, and singers recorded individual audio tracks from home which were then mixed and mastered by Benjamin Perry. For the final visual product, Nightingale members and videographer Wesley Verge met together on a cold winter afternoon in the snow laden Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University to film the ensemble lip-syncing the program while socially distanced. The final step in the process is unfolding as we speak, with the Ketevan Music Festival's production team working side by side with Nightingale artists to polish and assemble a final virtual concert to air on April 6th, 2020.
It is our hope that the beautiful, snowy landscape of Boston's arboretum underlines the poetry and music in our program to instill a sense of awe and wonder for the cycles in nature and our lives. Links to view the program will be posted soon.
- Written by Co-Artistic Directors Benjamin Perry and Laura Nevitt
Day -Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar -Music by John Haukoos
a certain slant of light -Poem by Emily Dickinson -Music by Nicholas Ford
A Hymn to the Evening -Poem by Phyllis Wheatley -Music by Kelvyn Koning
Night -Poem by Paul Laurence Dunbar -Music by Benjamin Kapp Perry
Nothing Gold Can Stay -Poem by Robert Frost -Music by Laura Nevitt