Thanks to Sarah Z., here is concluding post about the Women’s Voices Chorus summer concert and tour:

Our European tour had its true coda on Saturday, July 14, when the chorus held its annual summer benefit concert back home. For an enthusiastic crowd of approximately 140 people at the United Church of Chapel Hill, we performed music learned especially for the tour—including pieces in Hungarian and Slovene—plus American favorites from our repertoire.

Allan prefaced each song with informal comments, clueing the audience into our unique experiences abroad. Of particular note: the Hungarian national pride we felt so keenly in Budapest, perfectly expressed in Zoltán Kodály’s “Huszt”; the special pleasure of working with Slovene composer Damijan Močnik on “Blagri,” his setting of the Beatitudes; and the extra appreciation our foreign friends showed for American spirituals like “Deep River” and “Ain’t No Grave.”

The richness of our adventures—musically, culturally, and socially—brought a palpable energy and maturity to this final performance. But we were equally excited by the organization we sang to support: Arts for Life, a nonprofit that provides art activities and education to chronically ill children in four hospitals across the state.

After seeing so much of other places, it felt good to return our vision to the local community. Mary Margaret Fulk, the AFL program director at Duke Children’s Hospital, spoke movingly of how art projects give kids a break from the unrelenting demands of illness management. For cancer patients, transplant recipients, and other sick children undergoing specialized procedures, Arts for Life is an essential program: It helps them express hope and happiness through painting, drawing, sculpting, and other hands-on activities.

What better way to conclude our own artistic journey than to support this incredible organization? If you missed the chance to contribute, you can still do so online via the “Donate” button on the AFL website. And if you want to see what lies ahead for Women’s Voices Chorus, sign up for our mailing list here.

Here are a few more videos from our concert in Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Venice, thanks to Darrell.

“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” arr. Nina Gilbert

“Deep River,” arr. Alex Blake

“Wade in the Watah,” Ysaye Barnwell, soloists Judy Moore and Rachel FitzSimons

“Daemon Irrepit Callidus,” Gyorgy Orban

For our last concert of the tour, we sang in Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice. This small, beautiful, 15th-century church is entirely built from marble, with an ornate ceiling containing many portraits of biblical figures. There are over a hundred churches in Venice; it seems like there’s another lovely Renaissance chapel every time you cross a bridge. Here’s a little more information about Miracoli, as well as a resource about Venetian churches in general.

We had a small, but enthusiastic, audience for this last concert, and we ended the tour with an hour of music both American and Italian, concluding appropriately with Allan Friedman’s arrangement of “Nunc Dimittis,” a piece about departing. Below are recordings of three pieces from the final concert, provided by our resident videographer, Darrell Edgley.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with Women’s Voices Chorus as we’ve made our way through central Europe! Our travels have ended for now, but we hope that this marks only the beginning of exciting new ventures for our group.

“Sweet Prospect” by William Walker, soloist Virginia Kraus

“Ave Maria” by Paula Tillen, directed by Laura Delauney

“Followers of the Lamb,” a Shaker hymn adapted by Allan Friedman, soloist Mary Greenwood

On Friday, July 6, we had the honor of singing in the evening mass at San Marco in Venice. Here’s a recording of our performance of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Jubilate Deo in San Marco with a slideshow of some of my personal Venice photos from our tour. A special thank you to Darrell Edgley, husband of choir member Jo, who recorded our concerts throughout our travels! I hope you enjoy the sights and sounds of Venice with Women’s Voices Chorus:

The Sala della Musica and Acoustic Mapping Project

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(Our tour is now over, but I will continue posting for the next few days with more photos and recaps of our time in Venice.) On the morning of our second day in Venice, Women’s Voices Chorus went “behind the …

 

Touring Venice and Singing at San Marco

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Today Women’s Voices Chorus spent all day in Venice, first taking a tour and exploring the city on our own, then providing the music for an evening mass in San Marco. In the morning, we had a tour of St. …

 

Piran, Slovenia

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Buongiorno from Venezia! En route to Venice, Women’s Voices Chorus spent most of the day in Piran, a little Slovenian town on the Adriatic coast. We will be singing quite a bit in Venice, so today was a small respite …

 

Freshly arrived! Near Venice

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As soon as we arrived at the hotel in Monastier di Treviso (about 25km northeast of Venice), some of us just had to go out onto the balcony right away. I love my camera’s zoom so very, very much.

 

Day Trip to Lake Bled

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Today Women’s Voices Chorus followed up our concert in Ljubljana with a day trip to Lake Bled, a vacation destination in northwestern Slovenia. Lake Bled is an azure blue gem nestled amidst beautiful mountains, with a little island in the …

 

Photos from the Ljubljana Concert

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Thanks to Franzi, here are some photos of our rehearsal with Damijan Močnik and concert in St. Nicholas Cathedral, Ljubljana. Franzi unfortunately wasn’t feeling well (get better soon!), but she sat in the audience and took some excellent pictures: As …