We Will Rise: Music of Resilience, Justice and Hope
About the program
We Will Rise: Music of Resilience, Justice and Hope will feature three works from female composers who were inspired to create art as a way of grappling with societal challenges. Though the composers hail from three very different generations, all three works deal with common themes of human struggle, including racism, sexism, and survival in times of devastating epidemics. The Grace Chorale of Brooklyn will bring these themes to light through the power of choral music, giving voice to the resilience of the human spirit.
Fanny (Mendelsson) Hensel’s Oratorium nach Bildern der Bibel (Scenes from the Bible) was composed in 1831 in response to the devastating cholera pandemic that raged through parts of Asia and Europe from 1826 through 1837. One of Hensel’s biggest works, the cantata traces a narrative of human adversity and despair, culminating in the joyful praise of God. The sister of Felix Mendelsson, Hensel was a prolific composer in her own right, but did not receive recognition for her talents in her own lifetime, instead publishing many of her works under her brother’s name because of societal norms that limited the professional roles of women.
Credo was written by the African-American composer Margaret Bonds in the 1960s, a time of great turmoil but also triumph for the Black American community. Drawing from the text “Darkwater: Voices Within the Veil” by civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois, Credo explores the conflict between white and Black workers and themes of justice and equality – themes that American society still grapples with today. Credo will be guest conducted by Courtney Carey and members from the Abyssinian Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church Chancel Choir, and the Brooklyn Ecumenical Choir will join Grace Chorale of Brooklyn for this performance.
Two Poems is a new piece by the Brooklyn-based composer, pianist, vocalist, teacher and producer Nicole Russell, who has been awarded the Grace Chorale of Brooklyn’s choral commission for the 2022-2023 season. With texts from Angelina Weld Grimke (The Black Finger) and Olivia Sutton (This Skin), the world premier of Two Poems celebrates the resilience, perseverance and beauty of the African-American spirit.