Vocal Area Network logo VAN Feature

A Musical Voyage Around the World
by Rachel Chang for Vocal Area Network
Posted June 2, 2005

Members of CantigasWhether they're singing about a desperately multitasking housewife or performing an emotionally striking Britten mass, the Cantigas Women's Choir of Hoboken reflects the power of women's voices as one of the few all-female choruses in the New York City area.

The group presents its biggest concert in its largest venue ever with a musical journey around the world at the third annual spring concert entitled “Voyages.” The show will be held Saturday, June 4, at 7:30 PM at Our Lady of Grace Church at 400 Willow Avenue (at 4th Street) in Hoboken, NJ.

Founding director Joan Isaacs Litman leads the chorus, accompanied by pianist Erasmia Voukelatos, in a multicultural and multilingual repertoire highlighted by Benjamin Britten's Missa Brevis in D, Moravian Duets by Antonin Dvorak, and folk songs from England, Iran, Greece, Turkey and Spain.

“This repertoire reflects the heart of who we are musically and consciously. We perform masterworks, such as Bach, Britten and Dvorak. We also take seriously the folk traditions from around the world,” Litman says.

“We are premiering a few pieces that I learned in Iran last summer. Several of these songs give voice to women's experience: a lullaby of a frightened mother, the saucy voice of a young Turkish woman whose husband just donned Western clothing, the confident voice of a rural Hungarian housewife who can do it all!"

Guest artist John Bryan will accompany the choir for the Missa Brevis and also perform J.S. Bach's Dorian Toccata. Featured soloists include sopranos Becca Brasser and Karen Ludke and alto Frances Marsh. Voukelatos and Lynn Reynolds Makrin will assist Litman in directing.

This season, Cantigas has also taken its music on the road with performances at the Edna Mahon Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, the Bayonne Community Cancer Support Group in Bayonne, and the Cathedral
Arts Festival in Jersey City.

Cantigas Women's Choir was founded in September 2002 and is named after a medieval Spanish song form called a “cantiga.” The diverse group is comprised of 50 women of varying ages from 20 to 65 years old, working in professions ranging from publishing to teaching and coming from Hudson, Essex and Bergen Counties and New York City.

Rachel Chang sings with Cantigas Women's Choir. This is her first article for Vocal Area Network.

Content Contact: Rachel Chang.
Revision Date: June 2, 2005.
Technical Contact: Steve Friedman.

 Vocal Area Network logo