Nick Page will lead The Mystic Chorale in their 20th Anniversary Spring Concert/Sing at Sanders Theatre [45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138] on Saturday, June 5 at 8:00 PM and again on Sunday, June 6 at 2:30 PM. Tickets at $20.00 and $50.00 [Premium Reserved Seating] go on sale on April 14 on line at www.brownpapertickets.com and at http://ofa.fas.harvard.edu/
Over two hundred and fifty singers will stand on stage along with a full band of jazz and folk musicians and special guests Dr. Phillip Woods, South African performers Teboho Moeno and Phumlani Bengene, Arlington singer Louise Grasmere, associate conductor Jonathan Singleton and others. The power of this many voices on one stage will be extraordinary and each concert will be enriched by the stories of the singers and guest musicians who have poured their hearts out for twenty years.
Twentieth Anniversary Themes:
One story emerges as the central theme of these concerts. It is the story of possibilities. It is the story of how music can be a transforming presence in our lives. It is a story that emerges from the Mystic Chorale's mission statement, that singing is an act of compassion and the belief that when we sing, we make the world a better place.
Like all Mystic Chorale concerts, compassion will ring out. Nick Page's anthem, "A Promise I Will Keep," paraphrases the Hippocratic Oath, but in a way it speaks to all of us, “And if I am asked to turn my hand toward harm, though it would profit me, I would refuse. This is a promise I will keep.” Susan Werner's song “Help Somebody” says, “I got a roof over my head, what do I do? I go out and help somebody get a roof over their head too.”
Steve Cummings was a long time pianist for the Mystic Chorale. He passed away in 2001 and in his memory, the Mystics will sing his "We Can Do It All, Peace" with Arlington's Louise Grasmere as soloist. "Take care of each other like sister and brother." These words were written in 1999 by a fourth grader named Sarah Igoe and set to music by Steve Cummings.
About the Special Guests & Soloists:
And the Mystics are very happy to bring back Dr. Phillip Woods who led the Mystic's 1999 Gospel concert and was a special guest at the 10th anniversary concert in 2000. He will lift the roof again with the words, "Everywhere I go, I want the world to know I'm gonna' let it shine." Dr. Phillip Woods made his Equity acting debut in “A New Brain” in Boston with the Speak Easy Stage Company in 1999, and has musically directed many shows, including Once On This Island, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, Pirates of Penzance, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope and Five Guys Named Moe, to name a few. An Acclaimed pianist, arranger and choir director for church, community and theater groups for nearly 40 years, Phillip’s extraordinary musical talent is known throughout the United States and abroad. Also a self-taught visual artist, Phillip was proud to present his first solo show, My People in 2001. Now, in his spare time, Phillip is completing a collection of short stories, Said I Wasn’t Gonna’ Tell Nobody! In addition to his many creative talents, Woods is also a board-certified periodontist!
The Mystic Chorale's 20th Anniversary concert will also be a reunion with special guests like Teboho Moeno who grew up in Soweto, came to the United States to obtain a degree in child psychology and now works at City Year. In 2007, Teboho was invited to perform with the Mystic Choral as a guest artist. Later that year, Teboho, now a Belmont, Massachusetts resident, decided to form his own singing group called Matimba ya Ripfumelo which translates as “The Power of Hope.”
Matimba ya Ripfumelo is now Boston’s premier South African music ensemble. This group is comprised of 15 members, each of whom has suffered the loss of friends and family members to South Africa’s devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic. Matimba’s mission is to raise funds for organizations that support the millions of children orphaned or made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Teboho will bring back a South African homecoming song called "Mbombela" complete with kicks and shouts and an energy seldom experienced at a choral concert.
Another featured special guest will be singer Phumlani Bengene who hails from Dundee, South Africa. In his youth he sang with a Gospel choir called the Dundee Voices of Joy. In 1995, Nick Page brought Phumlani and his group for an east coast tour in the United States and The Voices of Joy taught the Mystic Chorale their song “We Are Free,” which has become a frequent anthem for the Mystic Chorale. Phumlani currently lives with his son Aali in Medford, Massachusetts. Phumlani has been a frequent guest of the Mystic Chorale with a spectacular voice as well as dancing that is nothing less than amazing.
Louise Grasmere, an Arlington-based R&B singer, has been with the Mystic since the beginning. Grasmere's sound is wholly her own – a unique fusion of jazz-influenced rhythm and blues seasoned with Motown, gospel and soul. Think Bonnie Raitt laced with the smooth landscapes of Joni Mitchell, the imaginative improvisations of Ella Fitzgerald, and the gritty authenticity of Big Mama Thornton. Louise’
Associate conductor Jonathan Singleton will be honored. He will conduct his piece "Celebrate Your Worth," written especially for the Mystic Chorale. Singleton was the winner of New England Conservatory's Gospel Musician of the Year award and beside leading the Mystic band for several years, he has received rave reviews for his annual Mystic Gospel concerts.
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