The Bethany Center for the Arts presents"The Romance of Scotland"
A Sounding Joy! Concert
a Robert Burns Birthday celebration,
7:30 on Friday, January 27
"The Romance of Scotland" will bring alive the traditional songs and stories of Scotland on Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Montpelier's Bethany Church. The concert is by Randolph's noted choral group Sounding Joy!, conducted by Marjorie Drysdale and accompanied by Marta Borgstrom, Admission is by free-will donation. The concert will be presented early on Sunday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m at Bethany Church in Randolph which is on Main Street.
Some 10 different soloists will join the chorus in presenting songs chosen from the wealth of Scottish traditional music and poetry, including songs by Burns. Burns alone among the major poets in English, wrote a large proportion of his poems as songs, intended to be sung to traditional melodies. More than 380 of his poems, in fact, are songs- the most well known being, perhaps "Auld Lang Syne." The tunes are among the most beautiful in the folk traditions of any country, according to the director, and have a great variety of character.
"Some of these songs are achingly beautiful; others are playful or
dramatic, and some are tremendously stirring," she said. "Scots can
be proud of their rich and varied heritage."
The subject of the songs presented Jan. 27 revolve mostly around love: love of sweethearts, love of children, love of the land and, of course, love of Scotland. Burns is famous for dozens and dozens of love songs, more than a few of which refer to his own extensive history of
romantic involvements, both in the small town where he grew up, and in London society where he was lionized for a time. Familiar love songs will include "My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose," "Annie Laurie," and "Green Grow the Rushes-O."
Patriotism is another powerful presence in Scottish songs especially those associated with the Jacobin movement of the mid-1700s when the Highland clans yearned for the return of the Stuart royal dynasty under the leadership of "Bonnie Prince Charlie." A section of the Sounding Joy! program will thus include such Jacobite songs as "Charlie Is My Darling," and "Scots Wa Hae," an uncompromising call to arms which served as the unofficial Scottish anthem for more than a century. "The Jacobite songs provide a great showcase for the men's section of Sounding Joy!," the director noted. "We guarantee your blood will be tingling."
The concert will offer arrangements for full chorus, solo voice, and various small groupings, as well. Violinist Beth Telford and cellist Becky McMeekin of Braintree will accompany some of the songs. Sounding Joy, founded in 1984 by Marjorie Drysdale, has a repertoire of classical and popular music that ranges over five centuries. The singers have appeared in venues throughout Vermont, including three times in the legislative chamber at the state capitol.
In March, the chorus, combined with the Sounding Joy Youth Chorus, will be a guest of the Montpelier Chamber Orchestra in a performance of John Rutter's "Mass for the Children," presented both in Montpelier and at Chandler Music Hall in Randolph.