Press Release

Cantemus Sparkles with “Stars and Stones” Program Featuring Jazz Trio

Stars and StonesClick to view full poster

(November 6, 2013) —To launch their fourth decade of entertaining North Shore audiences, Music Director Jane Ring Frank, the 42 singers of the Cantemus Chamber Chorus, and a guest jazz trio (piano, bass and drums) from the Berklee faculty will explore a world of musical gems. The “Stars and Stones” concert of 20th-century music features movements from song sets by two of America’s best-loved contemporary choral composers, Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre, plus jazz arrangments of Christmas carols and Ron Landes’ “Jazz Gloria.”

Jane Ring Frank explains the evolution of this unusual program. “I was inspired by a quote from Wilna Wilkinson’s book ‘The Way of Stars and Stones,’ about her pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain: ‘For every star in the Milky Way there’s a stone on the pathway of the Camino; each a reflected soulmate, an echo in the cosmos.’ I built this season’s program around that theme – heads in the clouds, feet on the ground, a universe in balance.”

Dazzling stars are found in Morten Lauridsen’s stunning setting of James Agee’s poem “Sure on This Shining Night.” (“Sure on this shining night / I weep for wonder / Wand’ring far alone / Of shadows on the stars.”) Stones and natural gems are found in a number of pieces including Seth Houston’s “Emerald Stream” and, for women’s voices, “Love is a Rain of Diamonds” by Gwyneth Walker.

Along with “Sure on This Shining Night” – which was an audience favorite at Frank’s first concert leading Cantemus, in December, 2011 – Lauridsen’s “Noctunes” cycle also includes two songs on texts by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, written and sung in French, “Sa nuit d’été” and “Voici le soir.” Lauridsen’s instructions to the singers include the words “mysterious,” “rapturous” and “with a sense of wonder.” “These have become favorites with the singers, though I have to warn them to contain the rapture,” Frank admitted.

Eric Whitacre has become famous worldwide as one of the brightest stars in choral music in the world today, and performances by his “virtual choirs” of thousands of singers from over 100 countries are huge hits on Youtube. His music, Frank says, “displays stunning colors, brilliant text painting, harmonic complexity, and skillful compositional road maps that are all unique to his work.” Cantemus will perfrom three movements from “The City and the Sea,” with texts by E. E. Cummings, that talk of “stranded stars,” “the rain’s pearls” and “smooth round stones.”

What about that jazz trio? They’ll be featured in “A Christmas Jazz Trio” of familiar carols arranged by Michele Weir that are, says Frank, “fun and tight, with clean close harmonies and rich sonorities.” The program concludes with Rob Landes’ “Jazz Gloria,” scored for chorus and jazz trio. “We are thrilled that three renowned jazz players – Joe Mulholland on piano, Bruno Raberg on bass, and Jon Hazilla on drums – are performing with us,” Frank said. “You will hear Landes’ clever treatment of the traditional Mass text, now swinging and swaying with familiar, exciting and downright beautiful jazz settings. ‘Glory to God in the Highest and peace to his people on earth.’ The ancient praise text has never sounded quite so cool.”

Read more about the guest artists »

Cantemus will perform “Stars and Stones” on Saturday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m., at Christ Church of Hamilton-Wenham, 149 Asbury Street, Hamilton; and on Sunday, December 8 at 4:00 p.m. at Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb Street, Newburyport. Regular audience members should note that the Sunday venue is different this year!

Tickets are available online at, or fans can save $2 on advance tickets purchased at The Book Rack in Newburyport, Nazir’s of Wenham, Norris Gallery / MiXtMedia in Ipswich, The Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Toad Hall in Rockport and Gloucester Music. Tickets at the door are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors. Admission is free for students 21 and under. For details, visit, or phone 1-888-CHORUS 1.

Cantemus gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Hamilton-Wenham, Newbury and Newburyport Cultural Councils.

Cantemus is a member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, a cooperative association of diverse choral groups in Boston and the surrounding areas.

FYI:    Cantemus’ 44 members come from 23 communities on the North Shore, Boston, Cambridge and New Hampshire:

Cambridge: Music Director Jane Ring Frank. Manchester-by-the-Sea: Isabella Bates. Beverly: Dick Church, Bill Gelwick, Scott Hufford, Paul Kelly, Pamela Morris, Rachel Small. Bradford: Mern Ebinger. Byfield: Doug Guy. Essex: Betsy Vicksell. Georgetown: Patty Clark. Gloucester: Ed Mowrey. Hamilton: Donna Gale, Marcy Homer, Peggy Russell. Haverhill: Bill Holloway. Ipswich: Gary Freeman, Ali Lipman, Anne Maguire, Nat Pulsifer, Sr. Pat Rolinger, Debby Twining. Lynnfield: Priscilla March, Melanie Richard. Melrose: Accompanist Jeffrey Mead. Newbury: Judy Fayre, Nancy Weinberg. Newburyport: Richard Blumenscheid, Claire Cayot, Gary Lubarsky, Justin Turner. Peabody: Marjorie Short. Roslindale: Deborah Lemont. Rowley: Isa Cassano. Salem: Aria Nevin. Shirley: Cheryl Hayden. Wenham: Jamie Cabot, David Geikie, Elizabeth Lebel, Charlie Tyson. West Newbury: Michael Fosburg, Susan Nash. Durham, NH: Sydney van Asselt.     

The group will perform “Stars and Stones” on Saturday, December 7 at 7:30 p.m., at Christ Church of Hamilton-Wenham, 149 Asbury Street, Hamilton; and on Sunday, December 8 at 4:00 p.m. at Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb Street, Newburyport.

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For more information contact:
Susan Nash, Publicity

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Ipswich, MA 01938
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