The Long Bright – Spring 2014

The Long Bright

Friday, May 16, at 8:00 p.m.
Hill Hall Auditorium, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC

Women’s Voices Chorus, in partnership with the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Duke Cancer Institute, is proud to present Andrea Clearfield’s “The Long Bright” on Friday, May 16. “The Long Bright” is an hour-long cantata for children’s or women’s chorus, soprano soloist, and orchestra that explores the beauty or “brightness” of life and the pain that comes with illness and mourning. We will also perform several other pieces that explore similar themes, such as Lana Walter’s “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” and Abbie Betinis’s “Be Like the Bird.”

“The Long Bright” was written in memory of Anni Baker, a singer, composer, and philanthropist whose own bright light was dimmed by breast cancer. Using poetry written by Anni’s husband, accomplished writer and critic David Wolman, Dr. Clearfield created a cantata that follows one woman’s struggles with illness; it begins with a repeating five-note theme and the words “Do not fear the view.” With that simple phrase, the piece entreats the listener not to lament a loved one’s passing, but to accept and even celebrate the cycle of life. As Dr. Clearfield herself stated, “The title, The Long Bright, may be perceived as the white light at the end of the tunnel of dying,” but it may also be the “bright hope for a cure and the fierce brightness of our lives.”

On April 26, 2004, “The Long Bright” premiered in Philadelphia with the Temple University Music Prep Children’s Choir, Orchestra 2001, and acclaimed soprano soloist Hila Plitmann. The performance was a hit, prompting critics like David Patrick Stearns of The Philadelphia Inquirer to rave, “The Clearfield cantata joins a long line of works, such as Britten’s War Requiem and John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1, that speak their impassioned messages in no uncertain terms.” Charles Fox, an award-winning composer, proclaimed it “an exquisite work . . . a beautifully orchestrated, very personal statement.”

In addition to wanting to honor Anni Baker, both David Wolman and Andrea Clearfield hoped to promote breast cancer research. That is a legacy we are proud to join, as we are holding this performance in coordination with two local cancer research centers, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Duke Cancer Institute. We aim to bring attention to the work of these centers as they search for a cure and offer critical support to patients and their families along the way.

Join us on Friday, May 16, at UNC’s Hill Hall Auditorium at 8:00 pm for this incredible event. Tickets can be purchased through our website, from choir members, or at the door. You can find more information about the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Duke Cancer Institute online, and learn more about Andrea Clearfield and “The Long Bright” on her website.

This concert is sponsored in part by a generous grant from the Orange County Arts Commission.  Learn more about the OCAC’s mission to bring the arts to the citizens of Orange County at their website, and find more events at Explore Chapel Hill Arts.

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