Fall 2020 Season

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Join the Mystic Chorale this fall as we think outside of the box regarding what a season looks like…on Zoom!

Now more than ever, in these times of Covid-19, Mystic is committed to maintaining a strong community, helping members become better singers, and sharing compassion and joy through the gift of song.

THEME: WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN

Think you know what American “country music” is all about?  Join the Mystic Chorale on a musical journey that will challenge your assumptions and lift your spirits as we come together to celebrate exciting new directions in American traditional music. This is not your Grandma’s country music!

Mystic has celebrated spirituals, blues, Broadway, folk, rock and jazz – all music that helps define who we are as a country.  Now it’s country music’s turn. Under the direction of Founder and Artistic Director Nick Page, WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN will celebrate the roots of today’s country traditions.  We’ll look to musicians like Rhiannon Giddons, who builds musical bridges between Black and White traditions, creating a distinctly American message and sound. And we’ll take inspiration from one of this season’s guests, slam poet Regie Gibson, who wrote Call Me American, a country song that beautifully sums up our season’s theme: “I’m knit to fit like a patchwork quilt & from my sweat this country’s built . . . From sea to shining sea there are 300 million ME’s: Red white and blue and every in between.

SEASON SCHEDULE:

10 Tuesday sessions, September 15-November 17, 7:30 pm, on Zoom

Sopranos and altos will have 1/2 hour to sing together, as will tenors and basses, and all will have the chance to sing together as a full chorus. The specifics of this schedule will be announced before each week’s session together.

WHAT OUR TUESDAYS WILL LOOK LIKE:

Zoom technology gives us the opportunity to rethink everything.

We will play with creative ways of making the rehearsals more fun and flexible to meet various singer interests and needs. While we can’t be in physical proximity this season, we will make every effort to connect as a community each week with breakout rooms, occasional theme nights, and “Some Good News (SGN),” segments that encourage singers to share uplifting experiences with the rest of the group.  We need each other right now!

Each Tuesday session will feature a mix-and-match option of four segments, beginning at 7:30pm. Singers are invited to participate in some or all of the evening’s offerings. Each provides a rich choral experience.  The schedule for each week will be listed in advance.

The segments:

  • Learning a core group of songs

We’ll concentrate on seven songs.  Along with Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the repertoire includes Emmylou Harris’s version of Tracy Chapman’s All That You Have Is Your Soul, Rhiannon Giddens’ We Rise (“Hand in hand we stand as one, we push, we reach, we rise”), and The Judds’ Love Can Build a Bridge as a memorial tribute to our friend, Mystic singer Pat Mitchell.  Handel’s classical Thanks Be To Thee, respectfully re-imagined by Nick Page in a country ballad style, will provide an extra musical challenge.

Click here for the songs (with links to YouTube videos) in this fall’s program.

  • Enjoying special guests

Through the magic of Zoom, we’ll be joined each week by special guests, including singer/songwriters Joyce Andersen and Bill Staines; voice teachers and coaches, such as Berklee School of Music’s Jeanie Gagne; celebrated slam poet, Reggie Gibson; and two collaborating choruses from Teaneck, NJ and Philadelphia, PA.  While the pandemic may keep us from meeting in person, we are excited to build bridges and connect with singers in other cities who, like Mystics, are dedicated to building community through music.

Click here to see a list of special guests who will join us this fall.

  • Participating in sing-alongs

In addition to the seven core pieces, Nick and weekly special guests will lead us in just-for-the-fun-of-it sing-alongs to music by the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, The Chicks (formerly The Dixie Chicks), Dolly Parton and others.  Note: at this point, Nick is not planning to run separate weekly sing-alongs, as he did in the Spring.  

  • Contributing to virtual choir videos (optional)

Mystic will produce six virtual choir videos by the end of the season. Director Nick Page believes that creating videos is a wonderful way to share Mystic’s joy, particularly in these times when presenting a live concert is not possible. Nick considers them “our gift to the world.” Spring season singers who rose to the challenge of creating videos were greatly rewarded, and our greater community was enriched by the results.

Click here to see some of the virtual choir videos from the Spring 2020 season.

Participation in creation of the videos is optional. Singers contributing to creation of the videos will need to attend the core song rehearsal segments. “Tech Talk,” for those making the videos, will occur every other week at the end of rehearsals so those opting out can simply sign off early.

END-OF-SEASON VIRTUAL CELEBRATION
Saturday, November 21, 7:30 pm, on Zoom

In lieu of a concert, the season will culminate in a virtual celebration, with live performances, sing-alongs and Mystic’s virtual choir videos.  This is a free event, open to the public.  Donations will be encouraged.

Singer fee: $85.

Scholarships available.
Sign up starts Monday, August 17.

 

MORE ABOUT THE FALL SEASON

SOLOISTS

Solo auditions will begin BEFORE and in the early stages of the fall season, with soloists serving in a leadership capacity; helping others learn the songs and become better singers; and serving as role models for good posture, vowel pronunciation, diction, phrasing and other musical elements.  Those who are interested in auditioning should contact Nick Page at nick@nickmusic.com

Click here to see a list of songs with solos (with links to YouTube videos)

SUPPORT WILL BE AVAILABLE!

A variety of support systems will be in place, including a team that can provide technical help, volunteers who can provide assistance with vocal issues, and section leaders who can answer questions as they arise.  “Tech buddies” will help singers with setting up on Zoom and with the recording process.

PRACTICE MATERIALS

In lieu of practice CDs, printable lyric sheets will be posted for each singer along with scores for the more challenging pieces. Emphasis will be on learning songs from wordsheets and the oral tradition rather than from printed scores.  Captioned practice videos for each voice part ­– featuring some of the instruments (fiddle, banjo, guitar and percussion) that will also appear on the final videos­– will be available for all and will serve as templates for those choosing to participate in the virtual choir video production.

As part of Mystic’s continued goal of becoming a better chorus, our two guest vocal coaches will help us create a series of videos singers can use at home to warm up, practice breathing, create beautiful vowels, and safely belt out songs.

Help us broaden the Mystic Community!

Do you know people who have wanted to sing with Mystic but have lived too far away to make it to rehearsals or who have worried about bus service, parking, or having to drive after dark? The advantage of singing as a virtual choir is that none of those concerns should hold them back this fall – anyone with access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone can join! Please spread the good news far and wide to at least 5 friends and family members (anyone over age 14) that there’s a place for them in the choir!

Statement from Nick Page:

“Our season will not be political, but it will be distinctly American.  Our world changed after the death of George Floyd.  My immediate reaction was to question whether singing country songs was the right thing to do in these times.  But then I started reading about the work of Rhiannon Giddens, a black woman who is building cultural bridges, and I found inspiration in Ken Burns’ country music documentary series.  I don’t want to live in a divided country of black and white or liberal and conservative.  I want to live in a country that celebrates its differences while accepting the challenges of unity.  I believe in the better angels of our nature and I want our hearts and voices to express that in all its diversity.”