Anne Watson Born, Music Director
Special thanks to our Premier Sponsor, Middlesex Savings Bank
The Nashoba Valley Chorale is thrilled to work with the fine young musicians of the UMass Lowell Choral Ensembles, led by Dr. Jonathan Richter. Our program is a seeming hodge-podge of shorter works that go beautifully together. Some of the repertoire is new to us, some we are revisiting, and we have loved putting it all together.
The Chorale is proud to present our Fall 2023 Emerging Artists in this program: Jailene Velazquez on November 4 and Nicole Burns on November 5. Each will sing the gorgeous solo that is the heart of John Corigliano’s Fern Hill. These two young artists are students at UMass Lowell.
We are looking forward to continuing this “season of collaborations” by performing with other local choruses in the holiday concerts presented by the North Worcester County Symphony Orchestra, Jared Bloch, music director, on December 8 and 9. Of course we will also be singing, as is our tradition, in the Worcester Youth Orchestra’s wonderful Holiday Concert on December 16 in Mechanics Hall. On April 21 we will work with the Vista Philharmonic in the Concert Hall at Groton Hill, singing Adolphus Hailstork’s I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes, Augusta Read Thomas’ Far Past War (a New England premiere), and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ moving anti-war piece, Dona Nobis Pacem.
Our rehearsals for the spring concerts will begin Monday, January 8, 2024 at Acton Congregational Church. We welcome all vaccinated singers. Please go to www.nvcsings.org for more information.
We also are always looking for those persons who love choral music and love the Chorale and who may want to help out by serving – on the Board, on a committee, or by helping with a special project. Please contact us via our website, www.nvcsings.org or by phone (978-540-0088) if you’d like to volunteer.
Thank you for supporting the Chorale and attending our concerts. We feel doubly fortunate to be able to learn such glorious music in rehearsal and to present it to you in performance.
Anne Watson Born
This program is supported in part by grants from the local cultural councils of Acton/Boxborough, Ayer, Bolton, Concord, Groton, Harvard, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Stow, and Westford, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
4 November 2023
Acton Congregational Church
12 Concord Road, Acton, MA
5 November 2023
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
8 Kirk Street, Lowell, MA
Anne Watson Born, Conductor
UMass Lowell University Choir and Chamber Singers
Jonathan Richter, Director of Choral Activities
Shawn McCann, Collaborative Pianist
Nashoba Valley Chorale’s 2023–2024 Emerging Artists
Nicole Burns, soprano
Jailene Velazquez, soprano
Except where noted otherwise, all pieces are conducted by Anne Watson Born and are sung by the combined Nashoba Valley Chorale and UMass Lowell Chamber Singers.
Lobet den Herrn Johann Sebastian Bach
BVW 230 (1685–1750)
Fern Hill John Corigliano
Jonathan Richter, conductor
Jailene Velazquez, soloist, November 4, Acton
Nicole Burns, soloist, November 5, Lowell
Quartet: Samantha Schulz, soprano, Roisin Queally, alto,
Jake Petersen, tenor, Aidan Kelly, bass
UMass Lowell Chamber Singers, semi-chorus
Abendlied Josef Gabriel Rheinberger
Jonathan Richter, conductor
UMass Lowell Chamber Singers
Reincarnations Samuel Barber
Jonathan Richter, conductor
UMass Lowell Chamber Singers
1. Mary Hynes
2. Anthony O’Daly
3. The Coolin (The Fair Haired One)
Let Your Love Flow John Kramer
Nashoba Valley Chorale, UML Chamber Singers & University Choir
Dark Night of the Soul Ola Gjeilo
Lora Madonia, soprano solo
Shawn McCann, piano
Nashoba Valley Chorale, UML Chamber Singers & University Choir
Fern Hill by John Corigliano presented under license from G. Schirmer Inc. and Associated Music Publishers, copyright owners.
This concert is dedicated to Jeffrey L. Caruso.
The Nashoba Valley Chorale dedicates the performances of “On That Glad Night” to the memory of Jeff Caruso. A beloved member of the Bass section as well as our concert manager and board member, Jeff passed away suddenly and far too soon on June 7th, just after our spring concert.
He is loved and missed. His enthusiastic baritone booms elsewhere tonight.
That Glad Night offers up a variety of pieces that contemplate our time on earth and beyond. The texts are drawn from poets and from Biblical and Buddhist scripture. Dylan Thomas’ poem “Fern Hill” is nostalgic, playful, and ultimately mournful; James Stephens’ poems from Reincarnations explore the ecstasy of love, deep grief, and tenderness. In his sixth motet, Bach sturdily expresses the joy of his faith; the Sutta Nipata advises us to let our love flow “outward through the universe”; St. John of the Cross poetically depicts the soul’s journey from life to death. There are many connections among these texts: references to night; descriptions of nature; concepts of grace, love, and eternity.
Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden – J.S. Bach (1685–1750)
It is not known when this motet was composed or for what occasion. Typically the motets were written for funerals and while this might seem a little jolly for such an occasion, the conductor John Eliot Gardiner writes:
The text (the whole of Psalm 117), while undeniably festive in character, would not have seemed out of place in a memorial service of Bach’s time. Typically a Gedächtnispredigt or sermon dwelt on the soul of the departed having reached its heavenly destination. This idea of death as a goal and joyful release from earthly problems was common in German literary and theological writings at the beginning of the eighteenth century and is a leitmotiv that runs through Bach’s motets as well as several of his cantatas.
Fern Hill – John Corigliano (b. 1938)
I first encountered Dylan Thomas’s work in 1959, my last undergraduate year at Columbia College. It was a revelation. Both the sound and structures of Thomas’s words were astonishingly musical. Not by accident, either: “What the words meant was of secondary importance; what matters was the sound of them…these words were as the notes of bells, the sounds of musical instruments,” he wrote in his Poetic Manifesto of 1951. I was irresistibly drawn to translate his music into mine.
One poem captivated me: Fern Hill, about the poet’s “young and easy” summers at his family's farm of the same name. I wanted to write this work as a gift for my high-school music teacher, Mrs. Bella Tillis, who first encouraged my musical ambitions. She introduced Fern Hill with piano accompanying her (and, once, my) school choir.
Fern Hill is a blithe poem, yet touched by darkness; time finally holds the poet “green and dying,” but the poem itself, formally just an ABA song extended into a wide arch, sings joyously of youth and its keen perceptions. I set it for mezzo-soprano solo, chorus, and orchestra, aiming to match the forthright lyricism of the text. (The direction “with simplicity” is everywhere in the printed score.) (Composer note from wisemusicclassical.com)
Abendlied – Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (1839–1901)
Abendlied (Evening song), composed when [the composer] was just fifteen and revised a decade or so later, exemplifies the Cecilian ideals of a cappella polyphony, purity of expression, and clear, mostly syllabic word setting. “Stay with us,” the hospitable disciples urge the stranger they meet on the road to Emmaus (in Martin Luther’s artful German translation of the Gospel of Luke). The harmonies flicker between major and minor as “evening shadows darken,” the six unaccompanied voices overlapping in short imitative phrases that convey a sense of serene entreaty. The opening rhythmic pattern repeats itself on the words “und der Tag hat sich geneiget” (and the day will soon be over), but in shorter note values, as the travelers quicken their steps toward the supper that awaits them at their destination. (Harry Haskell)
Reincarnations – Samuel Barber (1910–1981)
Barber had a comfortable middle-class upbringing, in a musical environment: his mother was a pianist, his aunt Louise Homer was a distinguished contralto at the New York Met and her husband, Sidney Homer was a song composer. Barber himself was determined from a young age that he wanted to be a composer and he studied composition, voice and piano. Although he colorfully described his own voice as “having the projection of a baby skunk”, he wrote a lot of vocal music, including a Pulitzer Prize winning opera, Vanessa; the rhapsodic Knoxville: Summer of 1915 for soprano and orchestra; lots of songs; and some choral music.
The texts Barber uses in Reincarnations are by the Irish poet James Stephens, drawn from a larger collection with the same name, which in turn are Stephens’s own translations from the Irish of poems by Antoine Ó Raifteirí (usually known in English as Raftery). Raftery was the last of the great Irish itinerant bards: blind from a young age, he wandered the country, taking shelter where it was given in return for his poetry and songs. Stephens called his work Reincarnations because he felt his own Irish language skills weren’t good enough to justify calling his poems translations. (Durham-Singers.org)
Let Your Love Flow – John Kramer (b. 1973)
“Let Your Love Flow” is from Three Thoughts On Love, commissioned by the Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus in 2011. The string writing is active and repetitive, contrasting with the long-toned vocal melodies. Listen for the magical moment at “heaven and earth.”
Dark Night of the Soul – Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)
This is a setting of part of a poem by the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross. The poem was written in 1578 or 1579 when he was imprisoned for trying to reform the Carmelite order. The term “dark night (of the soul)” describes the journey of the soul as it leaves its earthly prison and travels toward reunion with God. Gjeilo has commented, “I think there’s definitely a sort of cinematic quality to that piece. I really love to listen to a lot of film music, and most of my favorite living composers are actually film composers. I think that piece really brought together a lot of things that I’m really passionate about, and I always wanted to give the piano more of a prominent role in a choral piece.” (www.seattlechoralcompany.org)
Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden,
und preiset ihn, alle Völker!
Denn seine Gnade und Wahrheit
waltet über uns in Ewigkeit.
Praise the Lord, all nations,
and praise him, all peoples!
For his grace and truth
rule over us for eternity.
Dylan Thomas (1914–1956)
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes,
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.
And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
And the sabbath rang slowly
In the pebbles of the holy streams.
All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.
And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise.
And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
Before the children green and golden
Follow him out of grace,
Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
Bleib bei uns; denn es will Abend werden,
und der Tag hat sich geneigt.
Abide with us: for it is toward evening,
and the day is far spent.
James Stephens (1880–1950)
She is the sky of the sun,
She is the dart
She is the love of my heart,
She is a rune,
She is above
The women of the race of Eve
As the sun is above the moon.
Lovely and airy the view from the hill
That looks down Ballylea;
But no good sight is good until
By great good luck you see
The Blossom of the Branches walking towards you
Since your limbs were laid out
The stars do not shine,
The fish leap not out
In the waves.
On our meadows the dew
Does not fall in the morn,
For O’Daly is dead:
Not a flower can be born,
Not a word can be said,
Not a tree have a leaf;
Anthony, after you
There is nothing to do,
There is nothing but grief.
The Coolin (The Fair Haired One)
Come with me, under my coat,
And we will drink our fill
Of the milk of the white goat,
Or wine if it be thy will;
And we will talk until
Talk is a trouble, too,
Out on the side of the hill,
And nothing is left to do,
But an eye to look into an eye
And a hand in a hand to slip,
And a sigh to answer a sigh,
And a lip to find out a lip:
What if the night be black
And the air on the mountain chill,
Where the goat lies down in her track
And all but the fern is still!
Stay with me, under my coat,
And we will drink our fill
Of the milk of the white goat
Out on the side of the hill.
Let Your Love Flow
Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one pointed mind.
Your life will bring heaven to earth.
Dark Night of the Soul
St. John of the Cross (1542–1592)
One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
—ah, the sheer grace!—
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.
In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
—ah, the sheer grace!—
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.
On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.
Anne Watson Born, music director, is thrilled to be in her eighteenth season with the Nashoba Valley Chorale. Ms. Watson Born has been a choral conductor and teacher in the Boston area for many years. She is the Director of Music Ministry at the First Unitarian Universalist Society in Newton and is a credentialed UU music leader.
Ms. Watson Born was an Assistant Professor at Bristol Community College for five years; while there she was the voice coach, composer, and sound designer for the Bristol Community College Theatre Repertory Company. In that capacity she has been the music director for productions of Threepenny Opera, Marat/Sade, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (quite the combination). She has composed original music and/or improvised live music for several theatre productions, including King Stag, Treasure Island, The Tempest, Black Elk Speaks, Fireflies, The Bacchae, Alice in Wonderland, and Aladdin. She was the Music Director of the Brookline Chorus for nine years and taught at the Brookline Music School for many years. She was the founding Artistic Director of the Women’s Chorus of Boston and the Avenue of the Arts Chorale and in 2002 conducted the Boston-area performance of the Rolling Requiem to commemorate the tragedy of September 11.
Ms. Watson Born holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where she studied conducting with William Dehning. She moved to Boston and obtained a Master’s degree in Choral Conducting from New England Conservatory, where her principal teacher was Lorna Cooke DeVaron. She has also studied conducting with Helmuth Rilling and Murry Sidlin, composition with John Heiss and Andrew Imbrie, and voice with Jeanne Segal and Michael Strauss. She lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband and their sato, and visits her daughter in Brooklyn, NY as often as possible.
Shawn McCann, collaborative pianist, has been active in the area as an accompanist and solo performer on piano and organ for over 35 years. He is currently in his 13th consecutive year with the Nashoba Valley Chorale, having previously worked with the group for several years in the late 1990s. Shawn is also a staff accompanist/ collaborative pianist at Groton Hill Music Center. In addition to his work as an accompanist, Shawn is the Director of Music Ministries at First Parish Church of Groton, is a credentialed UU music leader and is a past president of the Association for UU Music Ministries.
Shawn received his Bachelor of Music degrees in Piano Performance and in Music Theory / Composition from the University of Lowell where he studied under Inge Lindblad and Juanita Tsu. He lives in Pepperell, MA with his wife, Monica.
Jonathan Richter, DMA is the Director of Choral Activities and an Assistant Teaching Professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell where he directs three ensembles and teaches various courses in choral methods, conducting, voice pedagogy, and musicianship. Under his leadership the UMass Lowell choral ensembles have collaborated with multiple arts organizations in the region, performed many masterworks of the choral genre, and engaged in broad community outreach in public schools and other civic venues.
Dr. Richter has led choral programs in a wide variety of music-making environments, including public and private high schools, universities, community music schools, community choirs, and places of worship. He has conducted All-State and regional honor choirs in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island through both the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). Additionally, he has been selected to present interest sessions at conferences of the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO) and ACDA, and serves as the Collegiate Chair on the board of Massachusetts ACDA.
Originally a high school music teacher, Jonathan successfully led public high school choral programs in Suffield, Conn. and Plymouth, Mass. and later served on the faculties of New England Conservatory, Roger Williams University, and the Walnut Hill School. Having worked for many years with adolescent and youth musicians, Richter has made the advancement of music education a focal point of his work at the collegiate level. Richter holds degrees from Boston University (DMA), Yale University (MM), and the University of Connecticut (BA and BS), and has studied conducting privately with Ann Howard Jones, Scott Allen Jarrett, David Hoose, Marguerite L. Brooks, Simon Carrington, and Peter Bagley. An avid supporter of today’s composers, Richter has conducted or prepared choruses for premieres of new works by Silvio Amato, Whitman Brown, Stephen Feigenbaum, Bosba Pahn, Charles Tarver, Christopher Lee, and Derek J. Weagle, among others. In 2019 he was the recipient of the Exceeding Excellence in Teaching Award at UMass Lowell. Jonathan and his wife Arielle have two children and they live in Groton, MA.
Nicole Burns is a senior majoring in music performance at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is a versatile vocalist with a passion for musical theater and popular music, but has a love for choral repertoire that is equally significant. Nicole’s musical journey began in her hometown of Billerica at the elementary school talent shows. Her passion for music flourished in middle school and high school where she joined musical theater and choir. She continued to succeed in high school, securing lead roles in musical theater productions and performing with the chamber choir.
At UMass Lowell, Nicole expanded her musical horizons by participating in various ensembles, including Opera Workshop, Chamber Choir, Blues Ensemble, Contemporary Electronic Ensemble, Songwriting Ensemble, Percussion for non-Percussion majors and Early Music. In addition to her studies, she shares her love for music by teaching voice at Music Elements, where she watches her students grow in confidence both on and off the stage.
Nicole is extremely grateful to be able to sing the mezzo-soprano solo in John Corigliano’s Fern Hill, alongside her classmates and the Nashoba Valley Chorale. She wants to also thank everyone who has been a part of her musical journey and supported her over the years. She especially wants to thank her current teacher, Janice Giampa, and her prior instructor, Patricia McLean, for the strong foundation in music that has led her to where she is today.
Nicole looks forward to sharing her voice with those around her and hopes you enjoy the performance tonight!
Jailene Velazquez is a graduate student in the Music Education program at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and has recently received her undergraduate degree in Music Studies. She has been involved in the arts since she was a child. Starting with dance classes in the first grade, Jailene has explored all avenues of the performing arts, including band, musical theater, and choir. She has been studying soprano voice since she was fifteen, and considers herself a classically trained vocalist. Outside of performing, Jailene loves to teach music, and is currently the music director at Summer Stage in Walpole, Massachusetts, a community theater camp for children ages ten to seventeen. Jailene is very excited and honored to be performing the mezzo-soprano solo in John Corigliano’s Fern Hill alongside her friends from UMass Lowell and colleagues from the Nashoba Valley Chorale, and hopes you enjoy the performance! She would also like to thank her mom for going to every concert, and her instructors for always supporting her.
John Kramer, pianist, composer, and arranger, has performed widely throughout the United States and in France. He has written music for the piano, organ, and choir and has received numerous commissions, including A Dream of Hope, a cantata in five movements for choir and orchestra, which premiered in 2015, as part of the Winchester Unitarian Society’s 150th anniversary celebration. John’s many award-winning compositions include The Poet’s Calendar, a suite of pieces for chorus and orchestra based on a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem. His most recent composition for choir and orchestra, The Immigrant Experience, is a cantata in seven movements on the subject of immigration; it premiered in December 2017 in Boston and Winchester and currently is being performed across the United States. John won recent critical acclaim for his piano performance of The People United Will Never Be Defeated, a nearly hour-long set of thirty-six variations on a Chilean song of revolution. John is Music Director at the Winchester Unitarian Society. He also is on the faculty at Berklee College of Music, where he is an assistant professor in the Harmony Department. John is a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he received a Master's degree in music composition and a Master of Fine Arts degree in piano performance. He has two recordings of original piano music, 24 Meditations and Orange Earth/Blue Ether.
Members of the Vista Philharmonic Orchestra
Young Sook Lee
Nashoba Valley Chorale
|Alyssa Bekai Rose|
|Mary Beth Fletcher|
|Bea Alice Loos|
UMass Lowell University Choir
|Wendy Gutierrez Carvajal|
|Amani Hasten Anderson|
|William F. Wynne|
UMass Lowell Chamber Singers
Donors and Supporters
The Nashoba Valley Chorale wishes to thank the following individuals, organizations, and companies for their generous support. Those marked with an asterisk gave a donation in memory of Jeffrey L. Caruso.
$1,000 and Over
Massachusetts Cultural Council
$500 to $999
Ayer Cultural Council
Groton Cultural Council
Littleton Cultural Council
Pepperell Cultural Council
Kathie & Martin Renzhofer*
Shirley Cultural Council
Melinda Stewart & Richard Hussong
Stow Cultural Council
$100 to $499
Acton/Boxborough Cultural Council
Camilla C. Blackman
Bolton Cultural Council
Anne Watson Born*
Lynda Cohen & Robert Grappel
Concord Cultural Council
Chris & Mick Grzonka*
Mary & Phil Hankins*
Harvard Cultural Council
Christine M Karnes*
Bea Alice Loos*
Michael & Aleta Manugian
Midnight Tango Fund
Jeanne Ayers Morette*
Deborah and Nicholas Mozzicato
Pam & Griffith Resor*
Sherry & Tom Ryder*
Arthur Schintzel, Jr *
Sarah and John Terrey*
The Vinyl Vault
Ken & Brenda Troup
Anne E Weber*
Westford Cultural Council
Up to $100
Susan M. Cooney
Linda & John Dacey
Jane T Ellis
Gardens Buffalo Niagara*
Hye Weon Hwang
Suzanne Knight & Dean Sullender*
Knox Real Estate Team
Barbara A Leary
Kate Peterson Thibeault
Central Massachusetts Choral Consortium
This group is a member of the Central Massachusetts Choral Consortium, whose purpose is to promote choral activities throughout the Central Massachusetts region through public awareness and performance. Please see the website listed above to learn more and to find out about choral events scheduled for this season.
Member groups currently include:
Acton Community Chorus, Lisa Cooper, Director
Assabet Valley Mastersingers, Dr. Robert P. Eaton, Artistic Director
Greater Gardner Community Choir, Diane Cushing, Music Director
Master Singers of Worcester, Ed Tyler, Artistic Director
Nashoba Valley Chorale, Anne Watson Born, Music Director
Salisbury Singers, Bradford T. Dumont, Music Director
Shir Joy, Nan AK Gibbons, Director
Sounds of Stow Chorus & Orchestra, Barbara Jones, Artistic Director
Westford Chorus, Jim Barkovic, Music Director
Worcester Chorus, Christopher Shepard, Artistic Director
Find more choral concerts near you!
We are a proud member of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, a cooperative association of diverse choral groups in Boston and the surrounding areas.
View the digital concert calendar: