Ember's Veterans Day weekend concerts explore issues of aging
by Kathleen Engles for Vocal Area Network
Posted August 31, 2018

Ember: Coming of AgeEmber focuses on honoring and celebrating the second half of life through music and the stories of World War I veterans in the ensemble’s season-opening concert titled "Thriving Through the Years: Wisdom from the Foxhole." The concert is the first of three pairs of themed concerts in Ember’s 2018-19 season titled “Coming of Age,” which explores issues of aging. The Ember ensemble of Schola Cantorum on Hudson will perform under the direction of conductor Deborah Simpkin King, on Saturday, November 10 at 7 PM at St. John’s in the Village Episcopal Church, 218 West 11th Street (at Waverly Place), New York City, and on Sunday, November 11 at 7 PM at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 94 Pine Street, Montclair, NJ.

This is the first time that Ember has carried a theme across the summer months to its culmination in the following season. "Thriving Through the Years" juxtaposes the climactic end point of last season’s "When the War is Over" (11 November as the actual date of the WWI Armistice centennial anniversary) with the launch of its new season.

“With this concert, Ember begins its exploration of our maturing population and the unique life realities and opportunities aging holds for all of us, regardless of chronology,” says Artistic Director Deborah Simpkin King. “Simultaneously serving as the culmination of our commemoration of the centennial anniversary of the Armistice of World War I, on 11 November 2018, we turn to the wisdom and life perspective shared by veterans of the Great War in their elder years.”

The centerpiece of "Thriving through the Years" is Requiem for the Living by American composer Dan Forrest, scored for mixed voices and orchestra. The piece both commemorates the lives of those who made the greatest sacrifice, and lifts all of us into expansive perspectives on life. Like Britten’s massive War Requiem, Forrest includes text beyond that of the liturgical Latin requiem in his five-movement work.

A multi-media presentation of video clips taken from the Veterans History Project and similar resources will be woven throughout the performances of Joan Szymko’s powerful Be It Therefore Resolved and Jake Runestad’s evocative Live the Questions. Ember is delighted to be working collaboratively with composer/songwriter Cheryl Engelhardt, and will also include the American premiere of her composition, We.

Veterans will be recognized and honored at every performance and given red lapel poppies, the WWI symbol of solidarity with soldiers. Tickets for both concerts can be purchased in advance online for $20, or at the door for $25. Veterans can reserve their complimentary ticket in advance online. Seniors/students, $15; children 12 and under are free of charge. For more information, visit www.ScholaOnHudson.org or call 888-407-6002 x5.

About Ember
Ember is the performing ensemble of Schola Cantorum on Hudson, founded in 1995 by Deborah Simpkin King as an independent nonprofit organization. Ember performs its entire concert season in Manhattan and in Montclair, NJ. Its unique programming features new music (largely by living composers) with a socially pertinent message. The internationally recognized new music initiative, PROJECT: ENCORE ™, was founded through Schola and the organization supports multi-pronged education and engagement programs in addition to its performing activities. Ember draws singers from eleven counties throughout New York and New Jersey. Schola is supported by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Marjorie Bunnell Foundation, and many other generous individuals, foundations and business partners.

About Deborah Simpkin King
Deborah Simpkin King, Ph.D., is the Founder and Artistic Director of Ember, the vocal ensemble of Schola Cantorum on Hudson (Schola), and of PROJECT : ENCORE™. Dr. King chairs the New York Choral Consortium (NYCC) and serves as the Director of Music at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church and the Artistic Director of the Crescent Concert Series in Plainfield, NJ. Known as a visionary conductor, educator and advocate of new music and the choral community, Dr. King is a frequent presenter at professional conferences and active as a guest conductor and teacher of master classes and choral workshops.

Kathleen Engles is a communications professional and freelance writer.