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Melding as One:
Our Roots, Our Voices and Our Visions
 Winter 2021
 
Our Roots
World Premiere
Bob Chilcott

*****

Our Roots

O Come, All Ye Faithful
Arr. by Gladys Pitcher

Solstice Carole
Kim Baryluk

Legends of St. Nicholas
 ~ Intonent hodie        Bohemia
 ~ Exultemus et letemur        Great Britain
 ~ Gaudens in domino        Germany
~ Nicholai presulis        France

Joy to the World!
George F. Handel, arr. by Gladys Pitcher

*****

Home
Piano solo
Ola Gjeilo

Pianist: Bill Epstein
 
Our Voices 

Méditations de la Vierge Marie
Marie-Claire Saindon
 ~ L’annonce
 ~ Le secret de Dieu
 ~ Merci mon Maître

Silent Night
Piano solo
Franz Gruber, arr. by Ola Gjeilo

Pianist: Bill Epstein

*****
 
Our Visions

Candles are Dancing
Penny Blake & Harris Loewen

This Little Light of Mine
Arr. by Robert T. Gibson


Noël nouvelet
Arr. by Erica Phare-Bergh

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Felix Mendelssohn, arr. by Gladys Pitcher

Christmas Angel
Soloists ~ Barbara Doern Drew, Nancy Maret, Jill McCormick
Corlynn Hanney


Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella!
Arr. by Sarah Jaysmith


*****

Encore: Silent Night
Franz Gruber, arr. by Linda Raney
Descant
~ Nancy Maret
Pianist: Bill Epstein

** Thank you for holding your applause until the end of each set of songs.
Melding as One:
Our Roots, Our Voices and Our Visions

Winter 2021 Program Notes

The Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble is very excited to return to our holiday tradition of in-person concerts by offering Melding as One: Our Roots, Our Voices and Our Visions. The concert highlight is the world premiere of our newest commission, Our Roots, by internationally known British composer Bob Chilcott. As a composer, conductor and singer, he has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and for 12 years as a member of the King’s Singers. What an honor to have him as the commissioned composer for our 41st season!
 
Chilcott’s piece, with its text by poet and former Oxford student Delphine Chambers, begins and thus gives shape to our program.
 
     Our roots are tied in love knots 

     deep beneath the earth
     where belonging weaves in silver threads
     through family trees and lifelines
     to meet in matching palms:
     yours and mine the same.
 

     Our minds yearn like budding shoots
     to reach the open sky
     where thoughts flow on the breezes
     through new lungs and foreign tongues
     to resound with one voice:
     yours and mine the same.
 

     Our nations share one cradle
     the crook of ocean waves
     where strength rolls on the breakers
     through each storm and each rebirth,
     to form one common vision:
     yours and mine the same.
 
Our Roots
 
The traditional carol O Come, All Ye Faithful is a favorite opener for many Christian church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, inviting us to gather while adoring the Christ Child. We have paired it with Solstice Carole by Kim Baryluk. This piece welcomes “all who need comfort” to meet around the fire on the longest night of the year to count our blessings and give thanks to the Mother, who nurtures all life. The image of the winter fire takes us back to our ancestral beginnings, as human beings trying to survive the most difficult time of the year.
 
Next, we share the four Legends of St. Nicholas. This fourth-century saint has morphed into our jolly old St. Nicholas, or Santa Claus. These pieces, which date back to the 13th and 14th centuries, have texts and music from Bohemian, British, German and French sources. Each one celebrates the wondrous deeds that are attributed to this saint, who even in his early childhood served God with a devoted heart. 
 
Joy to the World, with music attributed to G. F. Handel and words by the great hymn text writer Isaac Watts, repeats the line “heaven and nature sing,” celebrating that all life welcomes the new “King” through singing. 
 
Our Voices
 
We are delighted to share the voices of three Canadian poets in the triptych Méditations de la Vierge Marie (“Meditations of the Virgin Mary”) by composer Marie-Claire Saindon. Our thanks to Yolande Clarinval for tutoring the singers so beautifully in our French pronunciation.
 
In L’annonce (“The Annunciation”), with text by Albert Lozier, Mary expresses her surprise at the angel’s news and marvels how her life will change when she becomes the “Mother of God.” 
 
In Le secret de Dieu (“The Secret of God”), with lyrics by Helene Harbec, Mary contemplates what it would be like to understand the secrets of God. She first decides that she would not tell a soul that she had been given such a revelation “out of humility.” However, after she listens to the wise counsel of her inner voices, Mary decides that “if I came to understand the tiniest fraction of the secret of God, I would tell everything out of love.” 
 
The third section of the work, Merci mon Maître (“Thank you, my Master”), with words by Albert Belzile, begins with a wish to say thank you to God for his infinite love for us through majestic, evocative words and phrases—psalms, wild flowers, distant meteors, eternal arpeggios, sublime serenades, and so on. However, this piece ends with the realization that even the grandest of words are too limited to express this gratitude—a simple “thank you” is sufficient. 
 
Our Visions
 
The final part of our concert explores cultural bridges, or common visions. A burning candle symbolizes a special vision of peace for many faith traditions and experiences. As we watch candles burn in the cold of winter, they seem to glow with a deeper intensity. The lively Candles are Dancing, by choral singers and composers Penny Blake and Harris Loewen, evokes the welcome role of the “flickering flames” in banishing care, providing warmth, bringing hope and spreading joy in the freezing, bare time of winter. 
 
This Little Light of Mine expresses how our individual lights shine out and bind us together. Robert T. Gibson’s exhilarating arrangement captures the joy of this traditional spiritual. You’ll want to stand up and sing along! 
 
Erica Phare-Bergh’s jaunty arrangement of the 15th-century French tune Noël nouvelet (Christmas Comes Anew”) tells the wondrous story of the birth of the Christ Child, with great rejoicing and gratitude for this event.
 
We continue with the traditional carol Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, paired with the folk-style lullaby Christmas Angel, by Canadian singer songwriter Corlynn Hanney. In this lovely contemplative solo, the singer wishes she had the angel’s gifts to comfort the baby Jesus on that first Christmas day.
 
Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella! (“Un flambeau, Jeannette, Isabelle!”), arranged by avid composer, choral director and accompanist Sarah Jaysmith, evokes the excitement of the people of the village gathering to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. Jeanette and Isabella are urgently called to bring a “torch” (another type of burning candle) to light up the peaceful manger scene so all can view the sleeping infant Jesus, with his rosy cheeks and smile, and his beautiful mother, Mary. The joy is palpable!
 
Our final common vision is that of Franz Gruber’s Silent Night—a tranquil scene that gives us a respite from the tumult and cares of life. On Christmas Eve in 1818, this famous tune was accompanied by guitar because mice had eaten the bellows of the church's organ. Joseph Mohr’s text paints a vision of peace and serenity, where time seems suspended and we can pause and refresh our souls. 
 
As we rest quietly in this feeling and get ready to go back out into the world, we are reminded of the poetry from our commissioned work:
 

     Our nations share one cradle
     the crook of ocean waves
     where strength rolls on the breakers
     through each storm and each rebirth,
     to form one common vision:
     yours and mine the same.
 
Thank you for sharing this inspiring music with us, and best wishes for the holidays.
 
Linda and the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble
Back row, standing (L to R): pianist Bill Epstein, Sue Katz, Julie Kirk, Director Linda Raney, Linda Rice Beck, Claire McMahan, Mickey Bond, Nina Brown, Gwen Gilligan, Amy Gross, Nancy Maret and Connie Marks

Front row, sitting (L to R): Jill McCormick, Barbara Doern Drew and Chris Wismer
Photo Courtesy of Ken Kirk
Linda Raney
 
Celebrating her 33rd year with the Women's Ensemble, Dr. Linda Raney has been the music director and guiding spirit of the group since 1988. Indiana University provided her an excellent music education, and she holds doctorate, master's and bachelor's degrees from that famous institution. Since graduation she has taken advantage of the teaching of many contemporary choral teachers.
In 2010, Linda received a Santa Fe Mayor's Recognition Award for Excellence in the Arts, an honor that celebrates her commitment to beautiful music. In June 2012, she accepted the Adventurous Programming Award from Chorus America on behalf of the Women's Ensemble.
 
Linda is also the director of music/organist at First Presbyterian Church, where she has worked since 1986. Leading an ambitious church music program, she directs an adult choir, various vocal ensembles and the handbell choir, as well as manages the TGIF concert series. Offering fine concerts every Friday at 5:30, TGIF is becoming a unique Santa Fe experience.

In Santa Fe, Linda taught at the Santa Fe Community College for almost 10 years and served as choral director for the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus for more than 20 years.
Linda Rice Beck, soprano, also sings and plays handbells at First Presbyterian Church Santa Fe. A published composer and ASCAP member, Linda is the commissioned composer for the spring 2022 repertory. She has truly loved the opportunity to set to music the beautiful poetry of Raymond Raney. (See Commissioned Composers.)
Mickey Bond, alto, joined the Ensemble in 2006. A mixed-media artist, she is co-owner of Artful Soul: Creative Experiences Santa Fe, a studio and gallery featuring creative art classes for adults. Artful Soul is located downtown in the Santa Fe Village Mall. www.artfulsoulsantafe.com
Nina Brown, alto, sang with the Ensemble in the 1980s. She has sung with the Pacific Chorale in California and the Kentucky Opera, among others. She holds a master's degree in voice from CSULB, Long Beach, CA. Nina sings in the First Presbyterian Church choir and studies with Sandra Twibell.
Barbara Doern Drew, soprano, is celebrating her 39th season with the Ensemble. Along with singing, her current focus is her professional tarot practice (tarotbddrew.com) and her and husband Walter’s “Creative Aging: Embracing Life with Passion, Purpose and Possibility” courses, workshops and retreats, both on Zoom and in person (creativeagingdrew.com).
Gwen Gilligan, alto, has been with the group for all but three years of its existence. The time that the Ensemble had to take off from singing during the last year and a half made her realize just how special this group is, and she is glad to be back singing together!
Amy Gross, alto, joined the Ensemble in 2018. She performed for many years with the Austin Singers in Austin, TX, and has sung in several church choirs, including the First Presbyterian Church choir. Amy is a legal secretary, a freelance editor and an avid birder.
Sue Katz, alto, joined the Women’s Ensemble in 2005. She has also sung with the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus, Santa Fe Pro Coro and Canticum Novum. Sue is a family physician at La Familia Medical Center and a volunteer provider at the Villa Therese Clinic.
Julie Kirk, soprano, has been with the Ensemble for a total of 21 years. She edits our YouTube listings and manages our website and Facebook page. A watercolor painter, insatiable reader and renowned chocoholic, Julie is a longtime volunteer with the Santa Fe Civitan Club, and she also sings with Zia Singers. 
Nancy Maret, soprano, is enjoying her sixth season with the Ensemble. Additional singing credits include many years with the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and with First Presbyterian Choir. Her days are filled with telecommuting as a financial technology consultant, music, Ensemble board responsibilities and caring for beloved horses, humans and a dog.
Connie Marks, alto, is delighted to sing in her 12th season with the Ensemble. She has served on the board of directors and now assists its grants committee. A retired teacher of students who are deaf, she volunteers with the Santa Fe Civitan Club. 
Jill McCormick, soprano, has sung with the Symphony Chorus and First Presbyterian Chancel Choir in Santa Fe. She was a Waldorf kindergarten teacher for 33 years, where music was an integral part of each day. Now Jill works with tone, color and movement as a healing modality for children of all ages.
Claire McMahan, soprano, is thrilled to join the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble! A trained classical pianist, she has sung in many choirs over the years in California, Utah and New Mexico. Claire is pursuing her master’s degree in liberal arts at St. John’s College and works as a massage therapist.
Chris Wismer, alto, joined the Ensemble in 2017 and has served as the singer representative to the board of directors since 2020. She is a lifelong singer and has sung in school and church choirs, as well as folk singing groups, community choirs and the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus. 
Bill Epstein, pianist, began studying piano at age 8 in Linden, New Jersey. Further studies were at the Chicago Musical College and Harvard University. In 2002, Bill moved with his wife, Sheila, to Santa Fe, and he became the Women’s Ensemble accompanist in 2006. His work here has included church jobs, playing for eurythmy dance at the Santa Fe Waldorf School and accompanying the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus, Canticum Novum, the Men’s Camerata and the Santa Fe Community College Chorus.
41st Season Commissioned Composer
Photo by John Bellars
As a composer, conductor and singer, Bob Chilcott has enjoyed a lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and for 12 years as a member of the King’s Singers. He became a full-time composer in 1997, and he has produced a large catalogue of music for all types of choirs, which is published by Oxford University Press.

His most often performed pieces include Can You Hear Me?A Little Jazz MassRequiem and the St John Passion. In March 2021, Songs My Heart Has Taught Mereceived its world première from the BBC Singers in a virtual ACDA National Convention. Other newly commissioned works receiving their world premières in 2021 include A Song of Harvest for the Royal School of Church Music, Pear Tree Carol for Birmingham University Singers, and Our Roots for the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble.

Bob has conducted choirs in more than 30 countries worldwide and has worked with many thousands of amateur singers across the UK in a continuing series of “Singing Days.” For seven years he was conductor of the Chorus of the Royal College of Music in London, and since 2002 he has been principal guest conductor of the BBC Singers. In 2017, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal School of Church Music, and in 2019 he took up the role of principal conductor with Birmingham University Singers.

Bob’s music has been widely recorded by leading British choirs and groups, including the King’s Singers; King’s College, Cambridge; Wells Cathedral; Westminster Abbey; the Sixteen; Tenebrae; the BBC Singers; the Bach Choir; Commotio and Ora. In 2016, he enjoyed a collaboration with the celebrated singer Katie Melua on the album In Winter. In 2017, two new discs were released by Commotio and Choralis: All Good Things on Naxos and In Winter’s Arms on Signum, his first recording collaboration with an American choir. Newer recording projects are with the BBC Singers, Houston Chamber Choir and Wroclaw Philharmonic Choir.

Delphine Chalmers - Poet

Delphine Chalmers studied English at Worcester College, Oxford, and while still a student she collaborated with Bob Chilcott and John Rutter, providing the text for a range of choral works. In her poetry used for our commission piece, “Our Roots,” Delphine has explored themes of inclusivity, identity and unity, sharing her passion for the internal music of poetry.
We gratefully acknowledge
our major sponsors for these concerts.

Commissioned Works



Our Roots    Bob Chilcott    Christmas 2021

The Raney Songs    Linda Rice Beck    Spring 2020

Mementos of the Compass of Time    David W. Beatty    Spring 2019

Tell Me/Oseh Shalom Ur’fuah    Karen Siegel    Christmas 2017

Voice of My Song    Samuel Gordon    Spring 2017

Reina de la Noche    Z. Randall Stroope    Spring 2016

Words of Peace (םולש‭ ‬ירבד)    Linda Rice Beck    Christmas 2014

Kennst du das Land? (Do You Know the Land?)    Emma Lou Diemer    Spring 2014

That Passeth All Understanding    Bradley Ellingboe    Christmas 2012

Love All in All    Joel Martinson    Spring 2012

The Circle    Linda Rice Beck    Spring 2011

Two Andalusian Songs    Stephen Paulus    Christmas 2010

Listen    Kinley Lange    Christmas 2009

Echoes of Assisi    Linda Rice Beck    Spring 2009

Every Stone Shall Cry, Gloria    Linda Rice Beck    Christmas 2008

Ave Maria    Linda Rice Beck    Spring 2008

All This Night    Samuel Gordon    Christmas 2007

Winter Solstice    Paul Carey    Christmas 2006

Let There Be Joy    Daniel Gawthrop    Christmas 2005

Seasonal Dances    Craig H. Russell    Spring 2005

Learn to Think Lizard    Naomi Stephan    Spring 2004

Taladh an Leinibh Iosa (Lullaby to the Infant Jesus)    Robert Rothchild    Christmas 2003

A Jobim Sampler by Antonio Carlos Jobim     Robert C. Jones    Spring 2003

Chester Carol    Katherine Dienes    Christmas 2002

Dreams, Rain, and Autumn    Robert C. Jones    2003

Magnificat    Lana Walter    Christmas 2000

The Storke    Gerald Near    Spring 2000

To Crown the Year    John Ferguson    Christmas 1997

We Are One    Michael Mauldin    Spring 1997

Goblin Market    Lawrence Cave    Spring 1996

Stabat Mater    Dean Roush    Spring 1996

Come Love We God    Lynne Palmer    Spring 1996

Epiphanies    Jean Belmont    Spring 1993

With This Child    Michael Mauldin    Christmas 1990

Small Fry, Lazy Afternoon, Alone Together (Jazz arrangements)    Jack Manno    Spring 1989

Three Poems of Sylvia Plath    Shanna Suzanne MacLean    Spring 1984

Kyrie    Joseph Moore    Christmas 1983

Homage to Emily Dickinson    Shanna Suzanne MacLean    Spring 1983

The Great Invocation    Shanna Suzanne MacLean    Christmas 1982

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