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Why I sing

Mark Nickel | Tenor
I speak English and I can handle simple conversations in German, but music is a language I don’t fully understand. No one does. Often a piece I don’t like at first reading ends up capturing me. How did the composer pull me in? Why did it take me so long to find the music? And now, a week after performance, why can’t I get Irving Fine’s Pianola D’Amore out of my head?


Thank you!

The Providence Singers concluded its 46th performance season with a grand sampling of opera choruses, from the tragic to the triumphant, from Baroque to ragtime, Handel to Joplin.

To every member of the full house — not one ticket was left — thank you for joining us. Your presence Saturday night high atop the Biltmore Hotel will support our choral education programs and our 47th concert season.
Per te d’immenso giubilo tutto s’avviva intorno!

A preview of our 47th season  

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem  |  Saturday, November 17, 2018
Dona Nobis Pacem draws on powerful verse from Walt Whitman, elements of the Mass, and a 1930s anti-war speech by a member of Parliament as the storm clouds were gathering once again over Europe. The Singers will perform as guests of the R.I. Philharmonic in “Armistice Centennial,” a concert marking the armistice that ended World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Messiah  |  Saturday, December 15, 2018
Christine Noel conducts the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra, Providence Singers, and soloists in the twelfth annual performance of Handel’s masterpiece — a fresh reading informed by Baroque performance practice.

What Sweeter Music: Songs of the Spirit  |  Saturday-Sunday, March 9-10, 2019
Music for chorus a cappella and chorus with organ, including works of Johannes Brahms, Edward Elgar, Julian Wachner and others. The major work on the program is the Mass in C by Josef Rheinberger, a prolific late-19th century composer now known mainly for his contributions to the organ repertoire. John Black is the guest organist.

The Heart of the Singer  |  Saturday-Sunday, May 18-19, 2019
The Wound in the Water is a 2016 composition for chorus, piano, and string orchestra by the Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen, setting verse by the Welsh poet Euan Tait. It deals with themes of mammon, the love of money that holds ruinous power over the human condition, fostering conflict and competition and blunting the capacity for love. Also on the program: Mozart’s brief Inter Natos Mulierum.

Your turn

Community Sing to feature Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem
Artistic Director Christine Noel will conduct a performance of Johannes Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 29, in the Carter Center. Soprano Sarah Prickel-Kane and baritone Josh Krugman are the featured soloists, Singers pianist John Black is the orchestra of one, and this is your chance to join the chorus and work through the score. You’ve performed it? Bring your score. First time? We’ll have scores to lend you, and Singers members will be scattered throughout the chorus to provide vocal and moral support. Your $10 donation helps cover costs and includes a post-performance victory lap reception. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Travel directions  |  More information: Call the Singers office at 401-751-5700

Recordings of the Providence Singers


Dan Forrest: Requiem for the Living
Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living proved to be a powerful work in performance for both singers and listeners. He wrote it in 2013. The Providence Singers performed it in November 2014, together with three Bach motets. Little more than two years after the concert, the Singers had finished its initial Kickstarter campaign, raised additional funds, and booked a recording session at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. The CD was released December 5, 2017.
Notes and text  |  Download at iTunes | Amazon | Google Play

Lou Harrison: La Koro Sutro
La Koro Sutro, sung entirely in Esperanto and accompanied by an American gamelan — built for performances in Boston and Providence by our friends at the Boston Modern Orchestra Project — was exotic, immediately engaging, and unlike anything the Singers had encountered before or performed since. BMOP paired the Singers’ recording of La Koro Sutro with Harrison’s Suite for Violin and American Gamelan to make an extraordinary CD, released in July 2014. Program Notes  |  Read the Globe’s review

Dominick Argento: Jonah and the Whale
Jonah was a difficult prophet. He tried to wriggle out of divine assignments and whined loudly enough to annoy even God. Dominick Argento used medieval poetry, the Book of Jonah and other sources to prepare the libretto for this composition, preserving ancient alliterations and a great deal of wit and charm: “Even the casual listener will notice that the whale (the trombone solo in the Intermezzo section) gets the best tune in the work. And this is as it should be since I consider the whale, not Jonah, to be the hero of the piece.” Notes on the work ...

Lukas Foss: The Prairie
Lukas Foss fled Nazi Germany with his family – first to Paris in 1933 and then to the United States in 1937. He was 15 when he arrived in Philadelphia to begin his studies at the Curtis Institute. Foss embraced his new homeland – “... as a boy of 15, I fell in love with America,” he said – becoming a U.S. citizen in 1942. He found Carl Sandburg’s poem when he was 19 and began almost immediately to set it to music, adapting it himself without a librettist. The Singers loved it as well. Notes and composer’s commentary ...