Friday, January 11, 2013

Matthew Emery Winner of 2013 Prize for Young Composers

 Photo by Melissa Mask

Singing City is pleased to announce the winner of the 2013 Prize for Young Composers, Matthew Emery, for his work Voice of Song.
Music Director Jeffrey Brillhart notes: "By the end of playing through the second page, it was clear that Voice of Song was something very special. Matthew exquisitely captured the beauty of this poem, by Icelandic poet Steingrimur Thorsteinsson. Harmonically, the work moves from close clusters of sounds out to marvelous, wide sonorities. I was struck too by the beauty of  the individual voice parts. Often, with young composers, one sees soprano lines that are interesting, but supported by often dull inner voice parts. Here, each section gets to soar!"

Matthew writes: I composed Voice of Song in the Spring of 2012. I remember it was after the end of a busy season of finals and year end juries that are often quite stressful for music students. I took immediate inspiration from the evocative poem which is rich with imagery and great lines to set to music. The music begins with one note and from there blossoms as the music opens up into a rich and lush harmonic palate. The piece undulates back and forth, creating tension and moments of relaxation. The music builds to a satisfying high point on the text "Let thy measures ebb and flow / And my soul enraptured go." The undulating music returns shortly after this climactic section, the choir weaves their way to the end of the piece where it finishes in a similar way to how the piece began; with one note softly singing "Come soft voice of song."

Matthew Emery (b. 1991) is a multi award-winning composer. Originally from London, Ontario, he currently lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where he is studying Music Composition with Dr. Stephen Chatman at the University of British Columbia. Emery's choral works have been performed numerous times across North America and have even been heard on CBC Radio 2's "Choral Concert" and have also been broadcasted on live television. His choral works have been performed by all levels of ensembles from school groups, church or community choirs right up to professional vocal ensembles. Matthew has received recent performances by the Canadian Chamber Choir, Vancouver Chamber Choir, University of British Columbia University Singers, University of Louisville-Kentucky Collegiate Chorale and the Nova Scotia Youth Choir. Matthew has choral publications with Alliance Music Publications, GIA Music Publishing and Pavane Publishing.

Singing City will perform the piece at its Winter Concert-A Wonderful World on Saturday, February 23, 2013, 7 p.m., First Baptist Church, 17th & Sansom Streets, Philadelphia. Tickets and information:

Monday, January 7, 2013

In Memoriam - Betty Morrell

 Betty Morrell, center, with fellow singers Wendy Browder, left,
and Aminda Baird, right at the fall 2010 concert.

Singing City lost one of its long-time members on January 1 with the death of Betty A. Morrell, 73, a resident of Meadowood of Worcester, formerly of Horsham, just 5 days shy of her 74th birthday. Born in Passaic, NJ, she was the daughter of the late Richard and Kathyrn (Markle) Morrell. Betty graduated from University of Delaware with a BS in Engineering. Music was a large part of her life. She was a member of  Singing City since the late 60s, performing in hundreds of concerts and traveling with the choir to the Middle East, Russia, Cuba, Northern Ireland, and Brazil. 

Prior to retiring, she worked at Philadelphia Health Management Corp., where she helped establish the Information Technology Dept. Betty stayed active in retirement by becoming involved in many events at Meadowood. She is survived by her two sisters, June Parker and Katherine Pamela de Blecourt, five nephews and a niece. A memorial service was held on Saturday, January 5 at Meadowood.  Many spoke of her love of music throughout her life and her passion for Singing City. She will be greatly missed.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Singing City at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

 On Sunday, December 30, Singing City performed at the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of their series of Holiday Events. Under the direction of Jeff Brillhart with Tom Sheehan at the piano, the choir sang works of the season, including selections from Glenn Burleigh's Nguzo Saba Suite; Dave Brubeck's Sleep, Holy Infant, Sleep; Rollo Dilworth's Shine on Me; Israeli folk songs arranged by Bob Chilcott, and more. The Great Stair Hall was festively decorated for the season with beautiful lights shining on the proceedings. The stairs were filled with appreciative audience members.  Photos by Pete Checchia.