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Spring 2021 Virtual Concert: “Song of Democracy”

Siskiyou Singers, now in its 39th year of creating engaging choral music for the Rogue Valley, will present “Song of Democracy,” a free online concert celebrating the values that built a nation.

The concert will premiere on Saturday, May 1, on the choir’s website, siskiyousingers.org.

Siskiyou Singers normally presents two concert programs per year at Southern Oregon University’s Music Recital Hall, but the pandemic forced the choir to suspend in-person rehearsals and performances. The choir looks forward to returning to live concerts but is determined to keep making great music in the meantime.

As our country continues to grapple with threats to our democracy, choir Director Mark Reppert brought together a variety of compositions for this spring concert that reflect on both the resilience and the fragility of the great American experiment. The centerpiece of the program will be “Song of Democracy,” a 13-minute choral work featuring the poetry of Walt Whitman set to music by the 20th century American composer Howard Hanson. The piece will be performed with full virtual orchestra.

Other selections range from the hopelessness of the spiritual “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” arranged by Rosephanye Powell, to the joy and thankfulness of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.” The virtual performance also features the world premiere of “Hope Is the Thing with Feathers,” commissioned from Rogue Valley composer I’lana Cotton in honor of Reppert’s 10th anniversary with the choir.

As they did in creating last December’s virtual holiday concert, choir members have participated in weekly rehearsals using a variety of online and streaming tools. They then recorded their individual parts of each composition at home, with Reppert assembling them to create a unified choir for the online concert.

Siskiyou Singers is a community choir emphasizing high-quality performances that are accessible and affordable to listeners of all ages and interests. The choir’s repertoire is diverse, encompassing both sacred and secular music from Renaissance madrigals to American spirituals, from 18th century masses to multi-cultural and modernist compositions of today.