First Light Concert Cover PhotoFirst Light

James M. Collier Festival of New Choral Music

March 2, 2019, 7:30 pm

March 3, 3:00 pm

In the SOU Music Recital Hall, 450 S. Mountain Avenue, Ashland


“We are thrilled to present for you our second annual James M. Collier First Light Festival: “Songs for the Journey.” We feel so fortunate to live in a community that supports the arts and supports the creation of new art. We are equally fortunate to live in a time when living composers are writing such beautiful, varied, life-enhancing music.

While our concert presents music in a number of different musical styles from Celtic to classical, the music is always engaging, lyrical, and beautiful. From the ecstatic joy of Tarik O’Regan’s Alleluia, Laus et Gloria, through the pathos of Paul Mealor’s Stabat Mater; from the hauntingly evocative romanticism of Karen Marrolli’s O Pulse of My Heart, to the quiet joy of Gjeilo’s The Lake Isle, the music carries us on a wonderful journey of discovery.

We’re also happy to present A Triptych for Spring by Craig Kingsbury. Craig was for years Repertory Singers’ Composer-in-Residence and was also featured in last year’s New Works Festival. This year he returns with a twelve-minute single-movement work which sets three varied poems celebrating the beauties of spring.

Finally, we offer you Songs for the Journey by Jodi French. Jodi’s piece for last year’s festival caused quite a sensation and her admirers are in for another treatin this multi-movement work for choir, soloists, orchestra, and Scottish accent instruments. The music is warmly lyrical and merges perfectly the directness of the folk tradition with the high-end artistry of the classical tradition. Her music goes right to the heart and we are so proud to present it to you today.

In presenting our commissioned music, all of us together—performers, patrons, and audience—have the privilege of bringing new beauty to life. Karen Marrolli’s lovely poem reads in part: “No rose is so sweet, no meadow so fair, no star so radiant above… fair boy, your eyes, they haunt my soul.”

It is our hope that our music will do more than entertain: we hope it will be for you a thing as lovely as Marrolli’s boy; that it will lift and cheer you, hauntyour soul, and give you strength for the journey.” – Paul French, Music Director

Musicologist Ed Wight will give a free lecture one hour prior to each concert in Room 132 of the Music Recital Hall building. Mr. Wight will provide background on the composers and the pieces to be performed.  To read Mr. Wight’s program notes, click here.

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Free Preconcert lecture one hour before each performance in Room 132 in the Music Building.