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The Downtown Singers present their Spring Concert

The Binghamton Downtown Singers lines up its spring concert “Love, Harmony, and Spirit,” accompanied by its orchestra, and led by Artistic Director Robert Manners.

The concert starts with Nathaniel Dett’s Chariot Jubilee. “He’s one of America’s great Romantic composers,” said Manners. “Chariot Jubilee was actually commissioned by Syracuse University, so it’s kind of making its way back home a little bit.” It’s set to the theme of the spiritual Swing Low Sweet Chariot, over which Dett places his own text.

Ralph Vaughan William studied with romantic composer Maurice Ravel for three months in 1908. While building a lasting friendship, those months also inspired Williams so much that he had one of his most fruitful periods of writing, composing some of his most famous works, such as The Sea Symphony and Five Mystical Songs. The latter work is also included in the program for the performance.

The main focus of the evening is Singing for the Cure: A Proclamation of Hope, which centers around breast cancer and raising awareness of it by telling the true stories of those affected by the disease. It combines a number of different works written from the perspectives of several poets and puts them to music written by ten different composers. “I like to call it a cycle of songs more than an oratory,” Manners said. The choir hired Emmy-Award-winning Tracy Davidson to perform the text that’s interwoven with the songs.

This evening of music and hope is held at the Sarah Jane Johnson Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City on Saturday, June 8, at 7:30 p.m.

Watch Bill Snyder’s full interview with Robert Manners below.