Monday, April 30, 2007

The arts speak

The arts speak in ways that prose can never do. Have a look, everyone. This will of course be of special interest to folks in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Good luck with the Bay Bridge, friends. Thinking of you.)

This just in from George Emblom, faculty member in liturgical music at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP, the Episcopal seminary of the Western U.S., part of the Graduate Theological Union [GTU]) in Berkeley. I have copyedited slightly for ease of reading.

LIFE AND DEATH: A REQUIEM FOR THE VICTIMS OF DARFUR will be offered by the choral group AVE at St. Mark’s, Berkeley on Saturday, May 5 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert will also be held on Friday evening at St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco and on Sunday evening at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church).

[Note from Jane: Notice this bit of ecumenism through the arts: Episcopal, Catholic, and Presbyterian venues.]

The concert is intended to raise awareness of the plight of individuals in Darfur through the universally human medium of music and dance.

AVE, under the direction of Jonathan Dimmock, is in its third season; but this is the first occasion of its combining a concert with such a significant social issue of global concern.

Works include:

* Duarte Lobo's lush setting of the Requiem text (scored in eight parts). The concert is not intended as a funeral for a nation, but as a catalyst for empathy and alignment with human tragedy and suffering. Lobo (1565 - 1646) is considered the greatest of the Portugese polyphonists. He served as mestre de capela in Lisbon, and is noted for his impassioned style of writing – a perfect complement to tragedy looming in the Sudan today.

* John Sheppard (1512 - 1558) was one of the two finest Tudor composers (the other being Tallis). His motet Media Vita ("In the midst of life, we are in death") is also scored in eight-part writing, and is especially appropriate for this occasion.

* Herbert Howells's piece, "Take Him, Earth, for Cherishing," was commissioned in 1963 to be sung at the memorial service for President John F. Kennedy. An extremely effective piece of music and literature (from a fourth century poem by Aurelius Prudentius), this piece will be danced by modern dancer Noelle Morris.

The concert will have a speaker who is a refugee from Darfur.

The event will present opportunity for contributions to humanitarian efforts to relieve some of the suffering there.

It is the belief of the musicians that music has a special way of touching the heart, creating a sense of our common humanity. The arts are not isolated from our social context, but very much affected by it. This is our way of stating our love and understanding for the people of Darfur.

Over 3.9 million people are adversely affected by the violence within Sudan's borders, and rely on humanitarian aid just for survival.

Recent information has indicated that the genesis of the problem lies in global warming, which, in turn, reduced the amount of arable land, ultimately creating a fight between the herders and the farmers. This being the case, the Western world shares some responsibility in causing the destitution and therefore we should find ways to assist the victims. or

Note from Jane:

I don’t know the source of the global warming – related information. If anyone has info, I would welcome it and will post the source links here. Janinsanfran, any idea?

Also – the West, or more appropriately, the North, bears responsibility for other aspects of the Darfur catastrophe. Humanitarian aid is vital (and most urgent), but so is policy work. End of speech.


Ed said...

Hi Jane. First of all, thanks for dropping by! I love everything about your blog. This looks like great event. I have two friends from here (L.A.) who usually sing in the AVE concerts; I'll ask them about this. They have nothing but praise for the group and for Jonathan Dimmock. What a program! It should do something to raise consciousness about Darfur.

PadreRob+ said...

Thank you for all of the attention you've been giving Darfur. God help us (and them)

Padre Mickey said...

I'd love to attend that concert. I've always loved Jonathan's work, and George is a dear friend. Mona and Tara both sang in the choir at St. Mark's when we lived in Berkeley.

janinsanfran said...

Here's a link to Seed on the subject of global warming, desertification, and the Darfur war. I think we are all pretty much in the dark about the complications and ramifications of what is going on there -- except that people are suffering.

Jane R said...

Aha! I knew you'd know. Many thanks, Jan.