Program Notes

A Silver Sampler: The Best of Cantemus

Our 25th Anniversary Concert

May 17, 2008 | Print

A Silver Sampler: The Best of CantemusClick to view full poster

Well, after twenty-five years of music-making, Cantemus has a lot of golden memories. But this is a “Silver Sampler,” like a box of assorted chocolates, and we have selected a few things from across the years that we like to sing, and will present it to our audience as our anniversary gift. But honestly, it is an anniversary gift to us as well.

Cantemus Chamber Chorus exists because these singers, and all those who have come before them, love to make music. Yes, it sounds corny—amidst a culture that worships power, riches, and fun, Cantemus singers have, for about 35 weeks per year in the past 25 years (that’s 875 weeks!), come together, empowering each other, enriching the communities around them, and spreading joy to all who hear them. Now, of course, it hasn’t been the SAME people, but there is one among us who HAS been here the entire time—Donna Gale.

Who would have thought that, 25 years ago, when Donna Gale and Ed Lundergan decided to start a small madrigal group, that it would evolve into a chamber chorus that has performed over 50 programs of quality choral literature? Who would have dreamed that Cantemus would become part of the artistic fabric of this region? The Cantemus Chamber Chorus has gone on to enhance the arts on the North Shore, provide outreach to high school singers through the “Best of the Best” series, and entertain audiences both young and old with “Family Concerts.”

I have served as Music Director for just under 20% of the Cantemus history. The “baton” has been passed down through many capable hands, and we are thrilled that some of those hands will join us on May 17, leading the group through its paces. Ed Lundergan, Robert Ruplenas, Michelle Montgomery Muth, and John Hoffacker have all made contributions to the choral art as conductors of Cantemus, and tonight we celebrate them as well. Our long-time accompanist Robert Littlefield—who wielded the baton for one semester as interim conductor—will also be with us. And how many singers have there been since it all began? Maybe one hundred? Maybe more?

The point is, Cantemus Chamber Chorus is about people making music together. This May 17 concert is, in a sense, a culmination of 25 years of dedicated singing by Cantemus—by all of the singers and other guest artists and conductors who have been a part of this wonderful history. We stand on their shoulders as we continue the legacy that is Cantemus Chamber Chorus. So forgive us if we are a bit “proud” of this wonderful one-night celebration.

On May 17, we will weave the threads from so many spools into a tapestry of musical magic. Robert Ruplenas’s lovely settings of Edna St. Vincent Millay poetry, commissioned for this special event, will be a high point of the evening. An organ solo by Robert Littlefield, a stalwart and special musical presence for much of the Cantemus history, will be another meaningful moment. The appearances of former conductors, leading the current crop of Cantemians (we haven’t decided if this is a word or not!) in song, will present a panorama of Cantemus history. A special time will round out the evening, as we close the concert with the cumulative voices of current and former members with two gala selections.

People Making Music Together—live music, no digital plug-ins, no videos, no lip-synching, no wattage needed. Just the magic of the two golden cords in each singer’s larynx, vibrating hundreds and thousands of times as the notes spill out across the audience. Our gala concert will be a celebration of precious humanity.

Golden cords, Silver Sampler, hearts on fire and brains on ice, living and loving in the moment. We are people making music together because our audiences have been there with us the entire way. “The Best of Cantemus” concert is the culmination of all these experiences, over all these years.

— Gary Wood, Music Director