Members of at least five choirs and choruses — four from the Vineyard and one from off-island — packed Katharine Cornell Theatre last night in a benefit for the One Fund, established to help victims of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing. The music directors did an amazing job of fitting everybody in, and yes, we did leave room for the audience.
The M.V. Spirituals Choir was one of the five. In the photo, we’re clustered in front of the stage, facing the audience. Director Jim Thomas is the guy in white standing directly under the chandelier on the right. On the stage is the Vintage Voices ensemble, decked out in their customary red and black. On the right, under the Stan Murphy painting, is the Federated Church choir. Barely visible on the left are some of the “Musicians from the Mainland,” as they were designated in the program, led by Laura Prichard, director of music at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist church in Arlington, Mass. Not visible at all (they were standing at the back of the house) are Katrina Nevin and Dorian Lopes from the Scottish Society, stylishly clad in wool kilts that, as they noted, were not ideally suited to the summer weather.
Also invisible, except for his hands on the keyboard onstage, is Phil Dietterich, who was probably the busiest guy there: not only is he the Spirituals Choir’s accompanist, he also directs Vintage Voices and the Scottish Society choir.
The Island Community Chorus, though not an official participant, was well represented by several members who also sing in Vintage Voices, the Spirituals Choir, and/or the Federated Church choir and by director Peter Boak, who is also the music director at Federated. And pianist David Rhoderick, who played J. S. Bach’s Partita no. 6 in E minor, directs the music program at West Tisbury’s First Congregational Church, so it was represented too.
The M.V. Spirituals Choir sang “Oh, Wasn’t That a Wide River,” “In Bright Mansions,” “Soon I Will Be Done,” “Done Made My Vow,” “Sit Down Servant,” and “My Soul’s Been Anchored.” We were joined by members of the Arlington UU choir, and Jim Thomas introduced each song with a few words about its significance to the slaves who first sang it.
To close the program, Vintage Voices led all the choirs and the audience in Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” a staple at Boston Red Sox games that has become a symbol of Boston solidarity in the wake of the Marathon bombing.
Update: Laura Prichard reports that $1,510 was raised for the One Fund at the concert last night.
The Spirituals Choir’s next appearance will be next Wednesday, June 5, at the M.V. Film Center in the Tisbury Marketplace. We’ll be singing from 7 to 7:30 p.m. as a prelude to the evening’s screening of the classic film Cabin in the Sky (1943).