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Halalisa Singers: Come Fly With Me!

Unitarian Universalist Church

Saturday • January 12

Clock Icon 8:00 PM
Money Icon $20 Buy Tickets
Location Icon Unitarian Universalist Church
corner of Woburn Street and Summer Avenue
Reading, MA 01867
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Event Details

The Halalisa Singers under the direction of Artistic Director Mary Cunningham invite audiences on a musical journey in Come Fly With Me: Songs of Travel from Around the World. The group’s 34 singers hail from Andover, Arlington, Ayer, Belmont, Boston, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Lexington, Lincoln, Lowell, Maynard, Medford, Newton, Reading, Somerville, Sudbury, Wakefield, Winchester, and Woburn. They will be accompanied by pianist Trevor Berens, percussionist Fabio Pirozzolo, clarinetist Dustin Chung, and guitarist A.J. Heidkamp. Tickets are $20. For information call 781-648-5579, email info@halalisa.org, or visit http://www.halalisa.org/concerts/.

The performances are part of a concert season featuring songs of travel that will continue with local concerts on April 27-28, 2019 and culminate with the ensemble’s May 2019 tour of Ireland, where they will present performances in Dublin, Killarney, Kingston, and Galway.

The group’s name, Halalisa, is taken from a Zulu word meaning celebration, and reflects the ensemble’s mission to deliver music that uplifts, energizes, comforts, and brings joy. According to Artistic Director Cunningham, vocalizing is an international tool for human synergy. “In every culture of the world, singing together has served as a means to connect people spiritually and communally.” She adds that it can also help unite disparate groups and plays an important role in our increasingly diverse society. “Music brings us together through common experience of heart and mind, bridges what divides us, and unites us in common purpose. Through the support of community we can go out and build a better world.”

Come Fly With Me features two swinging jazz standards, the titular song written by Jimmy Van Heusen and made famous by Frank Sinatra, and Billy Strayhorn’s iconic “Take the A Train.”  Spirituals have long been Halalisa crowd pleasers, and this program is no exception, with Rollo A. Dilworth’s rousing “Freedom Train,” “Guide My Feet,” the powerful American folk hymn “Bound for the Promised Land,” and the traditional “Walk Together, Children” in a masterful choral arrangement by the great Moses Hogan.

Points further afield are represented by Joshua Jacobson’s exquisite arrangement of the Sephardic folk song “Adijo, Kerida” (“Farewell, Beloved”), the Manda Wilderness song “Ndiyende njirayi,” and the rhythmically exuberant Celtic tune “Bionn Siulach Scealach” (“Travelers Have Tales to Tell”). The chorus displays special skills for the train sounds of Chen Yi’s arrangement of the Taiwanese folk song “Diu Diu Deng,” and the complex yet whimsical Georgraphical Fugue for Speaking Chorus. The Halalisa women bring sweet harmonies to the poignant “Somos El Barco,” while the men deliver a traveler’s tale in “Rocky Road to Dublin.” Craig Hella Johnson’s uplifting arrangement of Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run,” the lyrically charged Scottish song “Over the Sea to Skye,” and Alistair MacGillivray’s gorgeous “Song for the Mira” about life along the Mira River in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, round out the concert.

The wide array of styles, moods, and emotional experiences is typical of Halalisa concerts. It’s a variety that helps convey the richness of human life around the globe. 

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