From Millbrook Independent
by Kevin T. McEneaney
Sat Jan 13th, 2018
Saturday evening at Christ Episcopal Church in Poughkeepsie, Christine Howlett led the Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir in a program entitled “Light through the Darkness.” Even though our dark winter days are incrementally increasing in January, this Manichean theme remains a January favorite as we grow weary of winter woes.
The program was divided into two halves: sacred and secular. The sacred was dominated by long, single Cantata with music by Vassar’s Barefoot organist and pianist, James M. Fitzwilliam, who played his own music, based upon the chorale tunes of Martin Luther, with impeccable timbre. Lyrics by Christophe Arnold were based upon Scripture passages that focused on the theme of forgiveness. “Forgiveness is strength; forgiveness is power” was an appropriated contemporary theme. These are indeed times when we would do well to discover that forgiveness “empowers us.” The ghost of J. S. Bach sometimes sounded like it floated like an archival anchor that kept the ship afloat. Luther’s powerful tune “A Mighty Fortress is our God” invited the audience to stand and sing new lyrics to the famous tune .Through solo and choir singing, a persuasive emotional pitch rang through the church. This local musical gem should have legs for future performances in churches with fairly large choirs; it is a significant contrition to the tradition. Psalm 84 in German, Wie lieblich sind deineWohnungen functioned as a sacred postlude, acclaiming the lovely dwelling places of the Lord!
Emily Dickinson’s short lyric “Had I not seen the Sun” with the lines “I could have borne the shade / But Light a newer Wilderness / My Wilderness has made” followed. Daniel Elder’s “Ballade to the Moon” came next as it painted a Romantic landscape of forest and the distant moon, inviting the distant moon to “Come sing with me!” Elder’s “Lullaby” came next with the convincing hope that a lullaby does indeed put children to sleep.
The most bitingly topical lyric of the day was Emily Dickinson’s “I had no time to hate.” While the audience relished the short poem, perhaps it should be required daily reading by government workers.
“Light of a Clear Blue Morning” by Dolly Parton dwelt on a woman’s resolution to be rived by a bright sunrise. An African spiritual, “Hope for Resolution: A Song for Mandela and DeKlerk,” with a rather jazzy rhythm brought out the best of the evening’s singers. (There are several versions of this song available and a video of it can be found below.)
They concluded with Siegfried Sassoon’s poem “Everyone Sang,” a rousing number to end a performance, yet the absence of its political context—British troops celebrating the Armistice of World War One—makes the lyric feel strangely adrift when was is so pervasive.
Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir will next perform at Vassar’s annual Modfest Celebration with the Treble Choir and Cor Capriccio on February 10th at Skinner Hall, 3 pm.
A Service of Lessons and Carols
Sunday, December 3rd at 7:00pm
Vassar College Chapel
This annual Advent service includes readings, choral anthems and congregational carols that culminate in a stunning candle lighting ceremony. Featuring Vassar College Choir, Madrigal Singers, Women’s Chorus, Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir, and Cappella Festiva Treble Choir.
Christine Howlett, Drew Minter and Matthew Zydel , conductors
Bravo to Cor Capriccio and Treble Choirs for an amazing concert (Ain't Nothin' Gonna Stumble My Feet) yesterday. This was the debut performance of our newest and youngest choir, Cor Capriccio and they outdid all expectations. They and the Trebles performed to a full house and "wowed" the community of family and friends that came to hear them. One of our Chamber Choir singers Jeanette Peterson who was an audience member yesterday commented: "Nothin' gonna stumble any of these kids' feet!" We agree with you, Jeanette!
Cor Capriccio is our new non-auditioned group of children in 2nd through 5th grades and is directed by Elizabeth Clifton, early childhood music specialist. Cappella Festiva Treble Choir, directed this spring by Matt Zydel, is an auditioned group of young singers, ages 10 to 17.
Please join us for this joint performance featuring the debut of Cappella's Cor Capriccio. Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 4:30pm.
Do you know a young child who loves to sing and make music? Consider registering them for Cor Capriccio!
The new session of Cappella Festiva's Cor Capriccio program is beginning onat St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Poughkeepsie. Cor Capriccio is a singing ensemble for kids in grades 2-5, directed by Elizabeth Clifton, early childhood music specialist. We will meet weekly from the end of January to the beginning of April to learn songs from a variety of cultures and in a variety of languages. We offer an early afternoon session ( ) for homeschool students, and a session, convenient for working parents.
Cor Capriccio offers many benefits to the young singer. Each week, we will exercise our bodies and minds as well as our voices. We will be learning songs to sing, but we will also be getting a deeper understanding of tonality, rhythm, musical form, dynamics, and general musicianship. We will play singing games and will learn to communicate the meaning of a song as well as the notes on the page. While we sing, we will be working on such important skills as teamwork and self-discipline. At the end of the session, we will have an opportunity to share what we have learned in a concert for friends and family!
Want to know more? We will hold an open house on firstname.lastname@example.org. And please, spread the word! Thank you.from 1-2 and again from at St. John's. This is an opportunity for you and your child to stop by, meet the director, play some games, ask any questions you may have, and get a sneak peek at some of the music we'll be singing! Invite a friend - we will look forward to meeting you! You can also email any questions about the program or registration to
Awaken the New Year
Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 4:30 pm
(Snow Date: Sunday, January 15 at 4:30 pm)
Christ Episcopal Church
20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie
The Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir, under the baton of guest conductor Ronald Bemrich with James Fitzwilliam at the piano offers a concert of choral gems for the New Year, featuring inspiring music by Mendelssohn, Britten, Poulenc and more.
The repertoire will include Benjamin Britten’s A New Year Carol written in the 1930’s and was traditionally sung at the New Year combining folk stories and religious ideas. Britten has been described as a brilliant composer and through his music, he interprets human feelings, moods, and thoughts, inspiring us to understand and appreciate our own nature, purpose and destiny.
Another featured composer, Francis Poulenc was part of the legendary group of French composers known as “Les Six” in the 1920’s. Breaking away from Germanic formality and French impressionism, this French group wanted to compose music with a direct and simple style. Poulenc was the most successful of the group. Three of Poulenc’s compositions will be included in Cappella’s January concert: Hodie Christus natus est; Quem vidistis pastores dicite; Laudes de St. Antoine (written for men’s voices). Poulenc puts the best of himself into these beautiful works.
Cappella Festiva will also offer Mendelssohn’s and Fauré’s sacred choral music along with contemporary works by composers Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo. The Gjeilo pieces will feature cello and tenor saxophone.
Cappella Festiva will perform Awaken the New Year on Saturday, January 14 at 4:30 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church, 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie. The snow date will be Sunday, January 15 at 4:30 pm.
Tickets are available online at http://www.cappellafestiva.org/ at “advanced sale” pricing.
$15 ($13 Advanced Sale) ~ General Admission
$12 ($10 Advanced Sale) ~ Senior Citizens
$5 ~ Students
For more information about the upcoming concert, please call 845-853-7765
ATTENTION: DUE TO THE IMPENDING SATURDAY SNOW STORM:
Handel’s Messiah has moved to
Sunday, December 18, at 2pm
Your Saturday tickets will be honored on Sunday
The Bardavon is proud to continue the Hudson Valley Philharmonic’s 57th season with a special holiday performance of Handel’s Messiah with guest conductor Christine Howlett. Guest vocalists from Cappella Festiva will join the Hudson Valley Philharmonic to perform George Frideric Handel’s most popular choral work. Audience members will be invited to sing along. A pre-concert talk with Maestro Howlett and members of the orchestra will take place one hour before the concert for all ticket-holders.
Don’t miss Handel’s Messiah – Sing In! at the Bardavon on Saturday, December 17th at 2:00 pm
Cappella Festiva will join the Hudson Valley Philharmonic in the performance of George Frideric Handel’s most popular choral work Messiah with a total of 100 instrumentalists and singers on the Bardavon stage. Audience members will be invited to sing along. A pre-concert talk with Maestro Howlett and members of the orchestra will take place one hour before the concert for all ticket-holders. For tickets, go to ticketmaster:
|This morning ~ Cappella Festiva Chamber & Treble Choirs along with Vassar College Choir and Women's Chorus rehearsed for tomorrow's glorious "A Service in Lessons and Carols." The Chapel will be filled with over 1,000 people tomorrow, Sunday, December 4th at 7 pm. Join us for the magic. Free and open to the public.|
Cappella Festiva Chamber and Treble Choirs
join the Vassar College Choir, Madrigal Singers, and Women’s Chorus
for a magical "Service of Lessons and Carols"
Sunday, December 4th at 7pm.
Don't miss the magic. Free and open to the public.
Christine Howlett and Drew Minter conduct.
Stay tuned for a recording of it…..
What an honor for our choir to spend an entire day with this brilliant and inspiring musician who is known for revitalizing choral repertoire with songs like Give Us Hope, When I Close My Eyes, We are the Voices, all of which they have sung over the years.
|Cappella Festiva Chamber Choir|
October 29, 4:00pm - Schubert's Mass in G-major with Bruderhof at the Mount Community ~ Esopus
December 4, 7:00pm Lessons and Carols, Vassar Chapel
December 17, 2:00pm Handel’s Messiah, Bardavon
January 14 (snow date 15) Winter concert, Vassar
April 8-9 Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, Bard College
April 29, 8pm Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, UPAC
May 13, 8pm Spring Concert, Christ Church
Cappella Festiva Treble Choir
Saturday, October 15: An All Day Workshop with renowned composer Jim Papoulis, 10am - 3pm
Skinner Hall of Music, Vassar College
Composer Jim Papoulis joins the Cappella Festiva Treble Choir for a special song-writing workshop. Our young singers write the lyrics and collaborate with Jim to compose a song which is recorded the same day.
Saturday, November 19: Fall Concert, 4:00pm
Concert location ~ Christ Episcopal Church, 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie
Sunday, December 4: A Service of Lessons and Carols, 7pm
Vassar College Chapel
Sunday, April 2: Spring Concert, 4:30pm
Concert location: Christ Episcopal Church, 20 Carroll Street, Poughkeepsie
|Summer Choral Festival presents a concert "Music Calleth," which will include choral music from the American, Dutch, French, Jewish, and Spanish traditions; musical theater selections from Seussical and Shrek; with Christine Howlett, artistic director & conductor; Ronald Bemrich, conductor; Elizabeth Clifton, conductor; Justin Stockslager, musical theater director; James Fitzwilliam, piano|
This concert is a culmination of the 2016 Summer Choral Festival program where children and teens (3rd through 12th grades) spent the last two weeks in choral rehearsals, learning vocal skills, sight-reading, dance, and experiencing our newly expanded theater program. Help us celebrate and hear them sing on Saturday! A dessert reception will follow.
(Link to 11x17 poster)
|Cappella Festiva Treble Choir is looking forward to attending the St. Thomas Boys Choir performance at Zion Episcopal Church In Wappingers on Friday night, November 20th at 6 pm. The Boys Choir is from NYC and considered to be among the world's finest choral groups and considered by critics to be the outstanding choral ensemble in the Anglican musical tradtion in the USA today.|
|Over 100 singers gathered for Cappella's open rehearsal of Handel's Messiah last night in the Villard Room at Vassar College. It was a glorious evening.|
Over 100 singers gathered last night for Cappella's open rehearsal in the Villard Room at Vassar College for Handel's Messiah. It was a glorious evening of singing!
|A new season begins!|
Rehearsals begin on Monday, September 21st at the Vassar College Chapel
5:45 - 7:15 pm for the Treble Choir
7:30 - 9:30 pm for the Chaber Choir
We have an exciting concert schedule!