The Peninsula Women’s Chorus began fifty years ago, with 17 singers; it now has more than fifty. They’ll be joined by another 40 or so alumnae when they celebrate their anniversary at their Spring concert, called ‘True North‘ on April 30th. Music Director Martín Benvenuto says the former members of the ensemble will join the chorus for a few selections, and the theme of the repertoire (which will include a world premiere commission) is ‘Home.’
There’s more information about the concert at the Peninsula Women’s Chorus website.
“The Peninsula Women’s Chorus has been a musical home, and certainly a community, and a home in that sense for our singers over those 50 years,” Benvenuto says. “We toyed around with the idea of departing from home, and coming back home. Some of those ideas actually generated some commissions actually, and choice of poetry. And some were already kind of pieces that we knew that we had to do at our 50th that were kind of inviting us to go in that direction.” Among the works that the Chorus has a long attachment to are pieces that provided solace to women in captivity. “There was a prisoner camp in Sumatra in World War II where women, during their imprisonment, created a choir. And from sheer will and memory, they wrote on scraps, pieces of paper, vocal parts for 31 pieces.” The group first sang them in the 1980s, including a special concert attended by the surviving members of the singers from Sumatra. “It brought a lot of excitement to the chorus, and it was such a moving story about the power of music to change not only our audience’s lives but our own lives, that it’s become sort of a staple of the chorus’s repertoire. So every few years, and especially on an anniversary year, it has to come up.”