Pure Imagination: Play

Come join us for a magical night filled with songs and scenes from The Pirates of Penzance, West Side Story, Sky Fall, Lord of the Rings, and more!

We will perform twice: Saturday, June 9 at 7:00pm and Sunday, June 10 at 3:00pm at Steilacoom Community Church (1603 Rainier Street).

Tickets are $15 in advance at BrownPaperTickets.com or $17 at the door,


Become a sponsor! We reach up to 150 audience members at every performance who love to support local businesses. Find out more here or download our Sponsorship Table Brochure.


See our Facebook Page for previews!


All proceeds go to support Sonoro Choral Society’s mission to support local musical arts.


Pure Imagination_Postcard Front-page-001More about the show: Our theme this season is taken

straight from the classic Hollywood movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The song “Pure Imagination” encapsulates what we love about music: it’s ability to transport listeners to a storied world full of possibilities.

This season, we’re performing a concert completely from musicals and movies. We’re excited to present something light and fun for a change and will be trying our hands at lots of kinds of art including staging, costuming, acting, and some visual arts.

The show is kid friendly. Kids 7 and under come in for free.

As always: if you bought a ticket for Saturday night and can’t make the performance, bring your ticket to Sunday’s (or vice versa!) and we will exchange it free of charge.

Pure Imagination: Work

Our theme this season is taken straight from the classic Hollywood movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The song “Pure Imagination” encapsulates what we love about music: it’s ability to transport listeners to a storied world full of possibilities.

This season, we’re performing a concert completely from musicals and movies. We’re excited to present something light and fun for a change and will be trying our hands at lots of kinds of art including staging, costuming, acting, and some visual arts.

It’s been busy here at Sonoro rehearsals as we sink our teeth into the challenge of production. We’re on track to memorize our entire performance by the end of April–a good month and a half earlier than we usually do. We’re learning choreography, staging, and how to emote while singing. Plus, all of us have extra-singing duties including sourcing props, costuming, and organizing the front of house. We’ve even drafted some of our favorite men to be pirates!  It’s tons of fun.

Here at Sonoro, we are passionate about making music accessible to everyone. We disagree that music is either high-brow or low-brow. All music has a story to tell and we hope you’ll join us this June 9 and 10 at Steilacoom Community Church for an exploration into Imagination!

 

 

 

Pure Imagination: Art

Our theme this season is taken straight from the classic Hollywood movie, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The song “Pure Imagination” encapsulates what we love about music: it’s ability to transport listeners to a storied world full of possibilities.

This season, we’re performing a concert completely from musicals and movies. We’re excited to present something light and fun for a change and will be trying our hands at lots of kinds of art including staging, costuming, acting, and some visual arts.

We know that music enjoys a close relationship with other art forms like dance, words, and imagery and so to inaugurate our Summer 2018 season, we’ve collected art work from our Sonoro members illustrating Pure Imagination.

 

Randee Autrand paints pottery. She says: “Pure imagination means creating a world, even if it’s within your own head, where anything is possible. Whenever life gets you down, you can go there and be whatever you want to be.”


Battle Scars
Written By Adena Grundy

I sit wounded, terrified and torn.

The battles are never over,
They began they day we were born.

A constant assault,
A choice to see,
Tired and restless,
Hoping there is still some fight left in me.

I have seen what happens to those who lay down,
Lost in all that they had hoped to be.

So I stand wounded, bloodied and free.

Adena Grundy uses poetry to imagine a future of healing.


Marijana Wulffiend uses makeup and fashion to transport the viewer to another time and place. We look forward to using her expertise in makeup this concert! (click to view larger pictures)


Ellen Jewkes says about her paintings: “Abstract art leaves rules behind, fuels imagination, and exemplifies creativity just with elements of shapes, lines, colors, and textures.” (click to view larger pictures)


UNTIL THE ‘MORROW
Written by Susan Smith

Where the wind does reach the water,
Where sun and moon shine over seas,
There will I wait until the morrow,
For you to sail back home to me.

If the shadows come to get me,
My soul will draw its strength from yours.
There is no wall to come between us;
There is no force that is that strong.

Leave the winter when you’re able.
Send the spring to warm our land.
I will be here when you call softly;
I will be here to take your hand.

The sun will rise ‘ere you return.
The moon and stars be true.
I will not falter, nor be shaken.
My heart is ever true.

© 2016 Dusty Guitar Music, LLC (by permission)

Susan Smith likewise uses imagination and metaphor to shape her message.


Krystal Hames uses photography to find beautiful structures in nature and to foster imaginative spaces. (click to view larger pictures)


Johanna Hanson uses watercolor and ink to think about emotive space. She says, “Imagination, for me, has always been about a union of emotion with a sense of place. I’m definitely inspired by our music and lyrics and I can’t wait to take our audience on a journey this season.”  (click to view larger pictures)


Join us in June “in a world of pure imagination”.

Spotlight on Mendelssohn

We’re excited to perform Felix Mendelssohn’s Drei Motetten, Op. 39 for you this Christmas concert (Dec. 2, 3, 2017). It is a beautiful, luxurious piece of music perfectly suited to the rich, full tones of the organ played by our guest organist, Dr. Curt Sather. It is a collection of three “motets” or small, religious songs and though not overtly Christmas-y, fits well in our program.

The first motet, Veni Domine (Come, Lord) is as plantiff a call to God as is O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The words are translated as follows:

Come, Lord, and do not delay!
Forgive the transgressions of your people, and call back the dispersed to your land.
Stir up, Lord, your power and come to save us.

Though the melody is solemn, it’s not heavy or dreary, but full of lilt and danceful rhythms.

The second motet, Laudate Pueri (Praise the Lord) begins with musical references to Gregorian chants with the rather thoughtful melody line given to each voice part in succession. The choir quotes from Psalm 113:1-2, translated as: “Praise the Lord ye servants: O praise the Name of the Lord. Blessed be the Name of the Lord: from this time forth for evermore.”  The melody is quickly stacked and reworked by each part into an interweaving polyphonic texture, broken in the middle by soloists who enjoin the listener with a quote from Psalm 128:1, “Blessed are all they that fear the Lord: and walk in his ways”. The melody is firm and absorbed rather than a wild and exuberant Baroque-type quality you might expect from a “Praise the Lord” song which lends a sense of strength and command to an otherwise joyful lyric.

The third motet, Surrexit Pastor Bonus (Good Shepherd), softens into a very pastoral, sentimental sensibility. The soloists and choir pass lyrics back and forth with rising cheer and zeal. The composition plays with elements of Baroque-style fugue, but ultimately blossoms into full-textured polyphony–each voice part singing independently, yet synergistically with each other. The lyrics center around Christ’s death and resurrection, which we think is a wonderful counterpoint to the Christmas story. Especially since the piece ends with sincerely enthusiastic runs of celebratory ‘alleluias!’

The good shepherd who laid down his life for his flock has risen, alleluia. And it was fitting that he should die for his flock, alleluia. [based on John 10:11-18]

They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. If you have taken him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away. [John 20: 13 & 15]

Christ, my hope, is risen; he will go before you into Galilee, alleluia. [from the Easter sequence Victimae paschali laudes]

mendelssohn_bartholdy

Composer Felix Mendelssohn

Mendelssohn’s three part Op. 39 is absolutely a child of the Romantic era. Composed in 1830, it is influenced by Romantic ideals of the time. Composers in the previous Classical period were focused on exploring the rules and ideal forms of music while the Romanticists began to explore art’s ability to invoke rich and multi-layered feelings in the viewer or listener. Composers and artists explored the boundaries of emotion from the sublime, to abject desperation. They frequently used polyphony to build up layers of textured emotion. Mendelssohn, in particular, will often deliver you a theme, and then pass it around and around, changing bits here and there.

As you listen to this Romantic-era piece, listen for a) the depth and colors of emotion which Mendelssohn is playing with as he attempts to relate humanity to God. And b) the musical texture which is created by multiple melodies being woven together like lace. 

See Sonoro Women’s Choir perform this piece this holiday season.

 

Polyphony

I have a secret to confess.

Despite my many years as a choral singer, I don’t really choose to listen to classical music that much. In fact, most of the classical music I’ve been exposed to has been at a) my brother’s band recitals in school, b) that one Handel concert my parents made me go to and c) choir. I don’t think I’m alone when I say: sometimes I find classical music difficult to listen to. I just don’t always “get” it.

Fortunately, one of Sonoro Choral Society’s missions is to make music of all forms accessible to the lay listener/singer like me. We’re a teaching choir! And here’s what I’m learning about polyphony.

One of the cool things you can do with choirs that you can’t do with soloists is give each voice a different part. Many, many, many (all?) songs on the radio are homophonic which means they have one melody line and some accompaniment. The accompaniment (voiced, instrumental, or both) is designed to support the melody, but isn’t usually that nice to listen to by itself. [Side note: homophonic is not to be confused with monophonic which is a melody by itself with nothing else].

Polyphony, on the other hand, is multiple melody lines playing independently of each other at the same time. They are harmonically related, but usually rhythmically independent. It’s similar to a fugue in that a musical theme or “subject” is often passed from voice to voice with each voice expanding upon or changing the subject. But it is different from a fugue in that it doesn’t have to be as orderly. Here is a short video with a really great example of polyphony. He breaks down each snippet for you, so that it’s easy to hear the interplay.

I think polyphony is one of the ways Classical music can be hard to listen to, because the many melodies and rhythms can feel dense–cacophonous even. Fortunately, there’s a few tricks I’ve learned which make polyphonous music fun to listen to.

  1. Polyphony is really big in the Romantic era of music which valued music’s ability to produce intense and multi-layered feelings in the listener. So ask yourself: what does each melodic line have to say? How does it support or re-frame the lyric or emotional content of the piece. Are the voice parts in conversation?
  2. If there’s a theme, listen for it to pop up from the morass. How is it disguised this time? Listen for counterpoint like in the video above. Do they compete? enforce the main? How do they change the context in which the initial theme sits?
  3. Now that you’ve listened to the melodies weave in and out, metaphorically stand back from the music as if from a painting. How does it sound together? How does the piece as a whole swell and fade?

While researching for this article, I came across this quote from music expert John Rahn:

It is hard to write a beautiful song. It is harder to write several individually beautiful songs that, when sung simultaneously, sound as a more beautiful polyphonic whole.

He makes a good point, I think. I’m tremendously impressed by people who compose, but to compose TWO simultaneous, interdependent pieces? That’s cool.

Find out where Sonoro is singing polyphony at our events page.

–Johanna Hanson, Marketing Director and singer in Sonoro Women’s Choir.

Want more?

Here’s a little extra:

Sonoro Presents “Mysterium”

Sonoro is proud to announce our Christmas 2017 concert series, “Mysterium” featuring Felix Mendelssohn’s Three Motets for Women’s Choir and Organ, Op. 39 played by organist Dr. Curt Sather.

We will also be singing O Magnum Mysterium by Tomas Luis de Victoria and many Christmas favorites.

Mysterium Web Link

We’ll be presenting two performances:

Saturday, December 2nd at 7:00 pm.
First Presbyterian Church
20 N Tacoma Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98402
Tickets Here

Sunday, December 3rd at 3:00 pm.
Steilacoom Community Church
1603 Rainier St
Steilacoom, WA 98388
Tickets Here

Tickets are $15 in advance at Brown Paper Tickets or $17.00 at the door.

Keep an eye out for sneak peaks and announcements on our Facebook page!

Or visit our YouTube videos from rehearsals like at the end.

About our Guest MusicianIMG_3043

CURT SATHER received degrees in Organ Performance from Arizona State University, and the Eastman School of Music, Rochester NY. After serving 13 years as Organist & Choirmaster at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church, Scottsdale AZ, he joined the Benedictine monastery of San Miniato al Monte, Florence, Italy, where he also served as organist for several churches. He is currently Organist & Choirmaster of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Olympia, where in March of this year he performed the complete organ works of J. S. Bach on a 24-hour recital marathon.

Youtube videos