Light in our Darkness – Wings of Song returns!

STURBRIDGE – After eighteen months of silence, Wings of Song, a premier community chorus in south-central Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut, is singing once again. It’s a smaller group, for the time being—just 23 singers out of the full chorus’s 60, calling themselves the Wings of Song Chamber Chorale. These were the singers (all vaccinated) who were ready to don specially-constructed singer’s masks and participate in socially-distanced rehearsals. Nevertheless, according to Music Director Nym Cooke, the singers’ spirit is as strong as ever—and their sound is superb.

Cooke has chosen a program of twelve very special, soul-stirring pieces to mark the chorus’s comeback, and to gladden the hearts of their hearers in this very difficult time. He characterizes the program in this way: “These pieces dig deep, and touch wellsprings of beauty and spiritual richness that are sure to lift people’s hearts. There’s a line in Handel’s Messiah: ‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.’ We’ve all been walking in darkness for some time now. May the beautifully-crafted classical works on this program—representing a mix of joyful animation and deep peace—bring at least some glimpses of that ‘great light’ to our hearers.”

The music spans four centuries, the 17th through the 20th, with composers ranging from the German Johannes Eccard (1553-1611) to the American Morten Lauridsen (born 1943). Inbetween are luminaries such as Georg Frideric Handel, Felix Mendelssohn, and Hector Berlioz. Handel’s “And the glory of the Lord” from Messiah and Berlioz’s “Thou must leave thy lowly dwelling” from The Childhood of Christ keep company with John Rutter’s “Christmas Lullaby” and Morten Lauridsen’s “O magnum mysterium.” And there will be familiar carols for the season, of course: Randall Thompson’s thrilling version of “Angels we have heard on high” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Hark! the herald angels sing.”

Beyond the singers being vaccinated and masked, this will be an unusual concert in other respects. With COVID cases once again climbing in the U.S., special precautions must be taken to ensure the health and safety of both audience and singers. Audience members should be fully vaccinated, and masks are required throughout the concert. As far as possible, the audience will be seated with some distance between “pods” of family and friends. And the shorter-than-usual program (no more than an hour in length) will be sung through without intermission. Look for singalongs, and our traditional post-concert social gathering with refreshments, to return at our Spring concerts!

As always, there will be two performances. On Saturday, December 4th at 7:30pm, the chorus will sing at the St. Joachim Parish Center of St. Anne/St. Patrick Parish, 16 Church Street in Fiskdale, Mass., up from the corner of routes 20 and 148. On Sunday, December 5th at 3:00pm, there will be a performance at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Woodstock, Conn., 24 Child Hill Road. Admission to both concerts is free; a freewill offering will be collected. And both venues are handicap-accessible. Don’t forget your mask—and come prepared for a beautiful and meaningful experience, rich in both music and spirit.

For information on how to join Wings of Song, or anything else about the chorus, contact Nym Cooke (nymcooke@gmail.com, 978 724 3438) or WoS President Carol Curtin (carolcurtin77@gmail.com, 508 341 6828).