Every July the World House Choir starts buzzing. Rehearsals intensify, singers start to gear up and excitement builds in our community. The culmination of our year comes in September with our self-produced major concert that is performed in various venues around the Miami Valley. So….get these dates into your calendar:
- Wednesday, September 18 at 7pm in the Foundry Theater, 920 Corry St., Yellow Springs
- Thursday, September 19 at 7pm at the Levitt Pavilion, 33 South Main St., Dayton
- Saturday, September 21 at 7pm in the Foundry Theater, 920 Corry St., Yellow Springs
- Sunday, September 22 at 3pm at the High Street Methodist Church, 230 East High St., Springfield
This year we are honored to be part of the Levitt Pavilion lineup. The concert, Our Planet—Our Lives, coincides with the UN’s Climate Justice for Peace Day (September 21). The Levitt asked the World House Choir to sing, in part, because they wanted a local choral arts organization to recognize and join in Peace Dayton’s on going work. The choir had already decided to sing the Missa Gaia: A Mass in Celebration of Mother Earth, and when we realized that the UN was joining their International Day of Peace with Climate Justice, we knew the stars were aligned.
Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia is a 40-minute contemporary work that is derived from a traditional religious form meant to move listeners to reflect on the interconnectedness and sanctity of all life on earth. It weaves the recorded calls of wolf, whale, and harp seal together with choral voices, soloists and a small ensemble of instrumentalists. Textured throughout in this lyrical environmental liturgy are rhythms from Africa, Brazil and the American gospel tradition. The voices of the animals are more than mere sound as they inspire the meaning and shape the form of each musical movement
Five years ago the World House Choir performed Missa Gaia. 2015 was the same year Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home, his encyclical about the environment. Many of us held out hope, the moment was right to encourage conversations and to sing a work in celebration of Mother Earth.
The World House Choir still holds out hope and this year, added to our performance of Missa Gaia, we have commissioned two African American composers, Ayanna Woods and Norman Whiteside, to write short original works for us that address climate justice. Not only that, we will be joined by invited guests from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company for several of the movements of the Missa Gaia.
Admission is free, donations are welcome.