SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — How can we better listen to and hear voices that are different from our own? That is the focus of the Ember Ensemble concert “Outside Voices,” which will take place Saturday, Feb. 29, in New York City and Sunday, March 1, in South Orange. The second concert in Ember’s 25th anniversary season, it will explore through music the importance of listening thoughtfully and with compassion to voices that are frequently disenfranchised, such as those of other cultures, races and genders, the young, elderly and the ill.
“We began the Listening season in November with the ‘Civil Discourse’ concert that examined the need for more thoughtful civility in our daily discourse,” said Deborah Simpkin King, Ember’s artistic director, conductor and founder. “In ‘Outside Voices,’ we call on the listening skills we explored in the previous concert and apply them on a broader level to people we might tend to overlook.”
“Outside Voices” will feature the world premiere performance of a choral arrangement of singer/songwriter Judy Collins’ haunting “Dreamers.” Russell Walden, Collins’ longtime collaborator and arranger, created a choral setting of the song and reached out to Ember for its premiere. The ensemble will also perform three PROJECT : ENCORE compositions: Michael Bussewitz-Quarm’s moving piece, “My Name is Lamiya: Don’t Call Me Refugee”; “Malala.” by Adrienne Albert; and Donald McCullough’s two-movement set on Roethke poetry, “The Eye Begins to See.” Also included is “Please Stay,” by Jake Runestad. Several of the Phoenix Singers, Ember’s teenage choir, will join Ember in the performance.
“Outside Voices” will take place Saturday, Feb. 29, at 7 p.m. at St. John’s in the Village Church, 218 W. 11th St. in New York City, and Sunday, March 1, at 5 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 217 Prospect St. in South Orange.