This season Ember explores the presumptions and consequences faced by the people of the world when nations go to war. Loss, remembrance, and reconciliation are grist for the artist’s mill as poets and composers struggle to make sense of conflict.
The season culminates in the centennial commemoration of the World War I armistice on November 11, 2018. Each concert will honor veterans with images and writings gleaned from such resources as The Veterans Writing Project .
Ember will also host its annual Seasonal Offering, an interactive family event in the heart of Montclair.
The East Coast Premiere of John Muehleisen’s dramatic oratorio. Scored for chamber orchestra, soloists and vocal ensemble, it portrays the story of poet Rudyard Kipling and his family’s dealings with the loss of his son.
In addition to telling the heart-rending Kipling family experience, Muehleisen asks the larger question: How can loss be turned into remembrance and reconciliation.
On this last Sunday in Advent, Ember offers an interactive family event in the heart of Montclair for all to sing seasonal favorites, both sacred and secular. Children, in particular, are welcome and will be given a special role in the Seasonal Sing.
Settings of the popular WWI poem “In Flanders Field” will punctuate dreams of peace and expressions of devastation from all the nations involved in The Great War. Where Poppies Grow metaphorically signifies all the homelands from which soldiers were lost.
The program will include the pre-war statement of innocent belief in peace on earth, Schoenberg’s Friede auf Erden, along with additional selections by Michael McGlynn of Anuna, Bradley Nelson, and Eleanor Daley.
Falling between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, WWI provided a poignant context for Woodrow Wilson’s declaring war that the world “be made safe for democracy.” Thousands of African-Americans and Native Americans responded, serving a country that still denied them basic rights of citizenship.
Safe for Democracy looks at this societal conundrum, exploring poetry and music from the Harlem Renaissance (Langston Hughes, William Grant Still, Duke Ellington, and others) through the 21st century.