Three of my students — Laura Sullivan, Thea Schwallie, and Mimi Gotbetter — joined a dozen other young people in a beautifully inspiring multilingual and multicultural concert yesterday afternoon by the group Youth pro Musica at the Second Church in Newton. Composers ranged from Michael Praetorius to Michael Isaacson. (You can look them up.)
Emblematic of the diversity involved is the sign you see before entering the church. You can draw two conclusions from it, as you notice in the photo: the building houses both a UCC church and a Reconstructionist synagogue, and they welcome people of all races and sexualities. Fittingly, the concert included a combination of songs from the Jewish and Christian traditions. Only three were standard Christmas carols; the others came from a variety of works of classical music in Latin, Hebrew, German, English, and the tiniest bit of French. Some explicitly referenced Chanukah and Christmas, others just did so by implication, perhaps by celebrating the season. A couple mixed religions within one work: an excerpt from George Frideric Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus, where we have a Protestant German-English composer writing about a Jewish hero; and an excerpt from Leonard Bernstein’s beautiful Mass, where we have a bisexual Jewish-American composer writing a Christian mass.
With all that, I can’t close without praising the quality of the singing, which was superb. Voices were astonishingly clear and lovely. This group would be worth hearing even if it didn’t contain Weston students!