Ask singers why VCS is a part of their week and one of the frequent answers is “community.” In an area where work, travel, and distance can underline the lack of it, community becomes ever more important. And it goes to the heart of our next concert, Us, Together, which features repertoire that recognizes and celebrates the ties that bind us.
There will be joyful music to be had from choral favorites such as Jim Papoulis and Brian Tate. But we are especially looking forward to presenting Everyday Wonders: The Girl from Aleppo — a new work with specially written text by poet Kevin Crossley-Holland set to music by Cecilia McDowall. It tells the story of Nujeen Mustafa, a Kurdish refugee who made the journey from Syria to Germany — in a wheelchair, because she also happens to have cerebral palsy.
When Everyday Wonders popped up on the radar, there was no doubt we’d sing it. It is an acknowledgment of the biggest refugee and humanitarian crisis of our time, and the difference community makes, however you define the word. It is also a reminder that music still has the power to express what words cannot describe, and bring us together.
Sung in five movements, Everyday Wonders conveys the immediacy of loss and the enormity of another world, all while reminding us of the humanity of what is at stake. In this case — home, a permanently lost cultural patrimony, the struggle to be more than a number in the system, the fight to retain hope and humor when you’re a stranger in a strange land, and finally, the everyday wonders of a new home. In a way, despite its international cast of characters, Everyday Wonders is a very American story of moving, striving, and finding community in a new world.
This is music for any of us, and all of us.
Please join VCS for Us, Together, 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 9 at Providence Presbyterian Church. Tickets are on sale now.