By the Waters of Babylon

By the Waters of Babylon

Music of Exile, Longing, and Home

Integrating projected imagery, a folk revival era soundtrack, and a timely thematic agenda, this concert was more than just a student recital: it was a powerful statement about music as part of a holistic human experience of seeing, listening, feeling, thinking and creating.

The Elgin Review

One of the oldest songs of exile is Psalm 137, expressing the longing for home of Jews who had been captured and forced to relocate in Babylon.  This Jewish diaspora has been repeated throughout history, as various peoples have been pushed out of their homeland by war, destruction, or economic collapse.

EYSO’s March concerts featured music from Verdi’s Nabucco, including the famous “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves,” featuring the Youth Symphony and string players from all other EYSO ensembles, from Primo to Philharmonia.  Filling the side stages and aisles of the Blizzard Theatre, more than 300 musicians entered a long tradition of camaraderie around this famed aria.

The entire afternoon and evening were filled with moments like these, including Prelude’s stirring rendition of Elgar’s Nimrod, the Brass Choir’s gripping performance of Awakening by living Norwegian composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, the premiere of Composer-in-Residence Ethan T. Parcell’s On the Gravity and Crisis by the Earl Clemens Wind Quintet, and the Youth Symphony’s bold interpretation of Bohuslav Martinů’s Symphony No. 3, led by Assistant Conductor Matthew Sheppard.

The video below began each concert, inviting the audience to consider the big questions all our orchestras have been exploring all semester.

The venue, the music, the scholarship, the beautiful program booklet (by itself, worth the price of admission) — everything at this concert was first rate, except the size of the audience. This conservatory-quality organization deserves to be heard by more than just loyal friends and families; Elgin’s larger community of arts patrons need to discover what they’ve been missing.

Read more about the 7:30pm performance at The Elgin Review.

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