“This is a crack ensemble, the like of which may not exist in our own city”
Boston Musical Intelligencer
15 November 2009
(Harrison, La Koro Sutro)



26 March 2014
For Immediate Release

Contact: Jenica Reed
Communications Director
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(401) 751-5700
April 26-27, 2014
‘All American’ to feature world première, music of four centuries

On April 26 and 27, in Providence and Westerly, the Providence Singers will perform choral works by American composers, featuring music from the 18-century through today, including a world première. Christine Noel will conduct, with a string quartet and pianists Patrice Newman and Michael Galib.

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Providence Singers will conclude its 42nd concert series with a celebration of American composers. Artistic Director Christine Noel has chosen music from the Revolutionary War-era William Billings through 20th-century masters Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber to some of the best-known composers working today.

The performances will offer a sizable sampling of American favorites, including The Promise of Living from Aaron Copland’s opera The Tender Land, Samuel Barber’s Reincarnations, three of Morten Lauridsen’s Nocturnes, and settings of three traditional American songs (The Sweet By and By, America the Beautiful, and Saints Bound for Heaven).

The Singers will also perform the world première of Elena Ruehr’s Bears, setting the poem by Adrienne Rich. The work was commissioned for the concert by the Providence Singers with its Wachner Fund for New Music. Ruehr will host a discussion with the audience immediately following the performance.

“Whether written for the church, the home, or the concert hall, American music has always had a recognizable energy and inventiveness,” said Noel. “That quality will be seen and heard throughout these concerts, from the work of William Billings in Revolutionary War Boston to a new work by Elena Ruehr in Cambridge this year.”

The chorus will be accompanied by string quartet, piano, and piano duet, conducted by Noel. There will be two performances: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at St. Joseph’s Church on Hope Street in Providence, and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at the George Kent Performance Hall in Westerly.

New Music

In addition to the newly commissioned piece by Ruehr, the Singers will present works by three other current composers.

  • Ola Gjeilo, a young Norwegian-American composer in New York City, is known for his unique language, lush harmonies, and textures that are symphonic in nature. The concert includes two of his signature pieces: Dark Night of the Soul and The Ground, a portion of the Benedictus and Agnus Dei from his Sunrise Mass.
  • Morten Lauridsen, one of the best known American composers of choral music, received the National Medal of Arts in 2007 “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power, and spiritual depth.” The Singers will perform three pieces from his Nocturnes, setting verse by Rainer Marie Rilke, Pablo Neruda, and James Agee.
  • Stephen Paulus is a Minnesota composer whose Pilgrims’ Hymn from the opera The Three Hermits is frequently performed by American choirs. The Singers will include The Road Home, an arrangement of the Southern Harmony hymn “Prospect.”

Tickets and venue

  • Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8 p.m., in St Joseph's Church, Providence
  • Sunday, April 27, 2014, 3 p.m., in George Kent Performance Hall, Westerly

Tickets — $28 for general admission and $5 for students with ID — are available online at www.providencesingers.org or by phone at 401-751-5700 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Discounts are available for seniors and groups of six or more.

The Providence Singers

Established in 1971, the Providence Singers is one of the leading choral performance organizations serving southern New England. Led by artistic director Christine Noel, the 100-voice auditioned chorus presents an annual concert series and makes frequent guest appearances throughout the region, including annual concerts with the Rhode Island Philharmonic. The chorus has also performed with the Kronos Quartet at the FirstWorks Providence Festival, and with the Dave Brubeck Quartet at Lincoln Center and the Newport Jazz Festival.

Michael Galib, assistant conductor, and Patrice Newman, pianist, assist with concert preparation.

The Providence Singers commissions and performs new works, with support from its Wachner Fund for New Music. It also sponsors the Junior Providence Singers, a choral training and performance program for high school students directed by Paulette LaParle, and the Young Men’s Choral Festival, an all-day workshop and concert for tenors and basses from eighth grade through high school.

The Providence Singers receives general operating support from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts.