Update #7 - a month ago
Today is the day! Songs of Springtime is now available to view on YouTube and Vimeo. All donors will receive links in their emails!
Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2021, 3:30 pm EDTSee all updates
***The full concert, Songs of Springtime, will be available to all donors to watch at their convenience beginning May 28 at 3:00 p.m. Links to the concert will be provided in the donation confirmation email and will activate at this time. Thank you!
Join the Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys, bass-baritone soloist Jonathan Woody, organist Maks Adach and conductor James Kennerley for an uplifting concert of choral music that celebrates the joys of spring and the Marian month. Be thrilled by the angelic sounds of the choristers performing a diverse program of music, recorded in the sublime acoustic of Saint Paul’s Church.
The concert opens with the grand, stirring, melody-filled anthem, Hear my words, ye people by English composer, Charles H H Parry. It was composed and published in 1893 as a commission for the Salisbury Diocesan Choral Association and was first performed in the Cathedral on May 10, 1894.The work features sections for double choir, a rousing organ accompaniment, as well as a section showcasing the boy choristers. It concludes with the hymn tune, O praise ye the Lord.
This is followed by a selection of music in dedication to the Virgin Mary. It includes pieces drawn from the great Mexican tradition of choral music, including the North American premier of a villancico by 18th-century composer Manuel de Zumaya. As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity, equality, and equity, we will also include works by the celebrated Irish composer, Elizabeth McConchy and Black American composer, R. Nathaniel Dett. The concert concludes with the Eastertide song cycle, Five Mystical Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams to poetry by George Herbert. The work features a baritone soloist, choir, and a rousing organ accompaniment. We are joined by acclaimed New York City-based bass-baritone, Jonathan Woody, who recently performed a solo concert with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society. The final movement, Let all the world in every corner sing, is sure to raise the roof!
Update #6 - a month ago
In celebration of the restoration and performance of Manuel de Zumaya’s villancico “Quien es aquella,” we are happy to present answers to a number of questions that we have heard since announcing this recording! Our third question is below.
3. Who was Manuel de Zumaya?
Not much is known about Zumaya, though his life is made most evident through his works. Thankfully, the Petrucci Music Library carries a number of his compositions as scores. Perhaps this is the best way to connect with the composer of Quien es aquella.
In his time, Manuel de Zumaya was most well know for two styles of composition, many examples of which are unfortunately not preserved in their entirety. His work translating Italian operatic pieces can be partially seen at la Biblioteca Nacional de Mexico in Mexico City, but most of the music has not been recovered. He also worked in relatively modern polychoral arrangements and compositions (such as villancicos), which were most popular during his lifetime and after in Spanish and Mexican composition. This is, of course, welcome news to choirs such as ours!
The organ inside of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, where Manuel de Zumaya was chapelmaster.
The pipes of the organ inside of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, where Manuel de Zumaya was chapelmaster.
Posted on Friday, May 28th, 2021, 10:25 am EDT
Update #5 - a month ago
In celebration of the restoration and performance of Manuel de Zumaya’s villancico “Quien es aquella,” we are happy to present answers to a number of questions that we have heard since announcing this recording! Our second question is below.
2. Have the boys performed in Mexico?
Yes, they have! In 2019, the Boy Choristers of Saint Paul’s went on a pilgrimage and performance tour of Mexico City. There, they sang the Mass before the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The largest basilica in North America, Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, was built next to Tepeyac Hill, the site where native Mexican Juan Diego saw the Mother of the Church, Mary, in 1531. Responding to her call to build a church on the spot, Juan Diego became a tireless champion of Our Mother. Through four more visitations, discussions, and miracles, Juan Diego brought the leadership of the Church to answer Mary’s call. The Boy Choristers of Saint Paul’s were grateful to sing in her honor at the basilica.
The boys also climbed the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, explored the Zocalo and Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown Mexico City, enjoyed the canal tours of Xochimilco, sang with the choir of the Church of San Josemaria Escriva, and visited the world-famous Museo Nacional de Antropología and Palacio de Bellas Artes.
Boy Chorsiters of Saint Paul's on the steps of a family home in Mexico City
Boy Choristers of Saint Paul's at the top of the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan
Boy Choristers of Saint Paul's at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Boy Choristers of Saint Paul's sing the Mass before the tilma bearing the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Boy Choristers of Saint Paul's sings at the Church of San Josemaria Escriva in Mexico City
Posted on Thursday, May 27th, 2021, 8:16 am EDT
Update #4 - a month ago
In celebration of the restoration and performance of Manuel de Zumaya’s villancico “Quien es aquella,” we are happy to present answers to a number of questions that we have heard since announcing this recording!
1. What is a villancico?
For that, we spoke with our Assistant Director of Music, Mr. Maks Adach, who pieced together and restored “Quien es aquella” using multiple sheets of digitized music from a joint project between the Metropolitan Cathedral Library (Mexico City) and La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
“The villancico is a vernacular strophic (i.e. chorus & verses) song form that originated in Spain at some point in the fourteenth century. Like the English Carol, the music was very simple and easy to sing.
Although the texts were originally secular, sacred villancicos were commonplace by the middle of the sixteenth century. By this point, the music was slightly more complex and in a more complicated polyphonic style.
With the Spanish colonisation of Central America, the genre found its way across the Atlantic. The villancicos of Sumaya and his contemporaries represents the technical high point of the genre — complex pieces with instruments, soloists, and choirs of many vocal parts.”
Posted on Wednesday, May 26th, 2021, 8:10 am EDT
Update #3 - a month ago
Jonathan Woody The Boy Choristers of Saint Paul’s are proud to sing alongside noted bass-baritone Jonathan Woody in their concert Songs of Springtime.
“Bass-baritone Jonathan Woody is a sought-after performer of early and new music in New York and across North America. In increasing demand as a soloist, Jonathan has made appearances in recent seasons with historically-informed orchestras such as Boston Early Music Festival, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Bach Collegium San Diego, Portland Baroque Orchestra and New York Baroque Incorporated. In the 2017/18 season, Jonathan appeared with Apollo’s Fire on a national tour of Monteverdi’sL’Orfeoin the role of Caronte and participated in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Aldeburgh, UK.”
Posted on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021, 4:29 pm EDT
Update #2 - a month ago
James Kennerley The Boy Choristers of Saint Paul’s are proudly conducted and led by choirmaster and organist, Mr. James Kennerely, Director of Music for both Saint Paul’s Choir School and Saint Paul’s Parish in Harvard Square.
“Hailed as “a great organist” displaying “phenomenal technique and sheer musicality” (Bloomberg News), James Kennerley is a multi-faceted musician, working as a conductor, keyboardist, singer, and composer. His performances are known for their illustrious flair and thrilling virtuosity, subtlety and finesse, drawing on the full resources of the instrument. James’ YouTube performances have enjoyed worldwide popularity and millions of views globally.
Mr. Kennerley was appointed the Municipal Organist of Portland, Maine, by the Mayor in September 2017, following a unanimous vote from the Search Committee and the City Council. Together with the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ, the Municipal Organist position is one of the most prominent and significant for the promotion of the organ, its music, and the many educational and outreach opportunities it enables.
Since September 2019 he has been Director of Music at Saint Paul’s Church and Choir School in Harvard Square, Cambridge MA, directing the choir of boy choristers and professional men in daily performances, regular concert tours, recordings, and broadcasts. Sent Paul’s Choir School has a long and enviable legacy as one of the most significant centers of organ and choral music in the US and maintains close links with Harvard University; James is just the forth incumbent since the institution’s founding.”
Learn more at https://www.jameskennerley.com/about
Posted on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021, 3:32 pm EDT
Update #1 - a month ago
Celebrating their recording from the Bell Tower! The boys took to the bell tower of Saint Paul’s Parish with conductor James Kennerley to celebrate the recording of their latest concert, Songs of Springtime!
Read the press release!
Songs of Springtime has been featured in The Cambridge Chronicle-Tab, the Milton Times, the Quincy Sun, Harvard Square, and Broadway World.
Posted on Tuesday, May 25th, 2021, 3:25 pm EDT
Keep up the good work, James and the boys!
Very excited to hear new and diverse pieces by the Choristers of St. Paul's!
Looking forward to watch the concert this weekend.
This sounds like a wonderful concert program, and I especially like the inclusiveness of the choice of composers.
Repleatur, Os Meum Laude Tua!