James Whitbourn’s “Annelies”, a moving, full-length choral work based on Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl.” will be performed by reSound, a Northwest Chamber Ensemble at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood on Friday, May 17. The Lynnwood concert will be the first of three performances of this piece by Trinity’s choir-in-residence.
In recent months, religious groups have been targeted as they worshiped: Christians during Easter Services in Sri Lanka; Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand; and Jews in Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh and now Chabad of Poway, near San Diego during Passover. As we struggle to answer the questions of today, reSound Assistant Musical Director, Paul Georgeson offered this insight, “People today can be inspired by Anne’s diary and how her light has found a way to shine through all the horrible things people have done”.
The goal of reSound is to explore the art of choral singing, design creative connection to engage the heart of the human family, and celebrate the song within each person. Their efforts supporting social justice have served as a strong current in recent program selections, and this concert is no exception. With support from institutions like ISCA, the Institute for Social Change Through the Arts, and funding in part by the Cantor David Serkin-Poole Music Fund, support for this program has grown. A portion of ticket sales from the Bellevue and Seattle performances will be donated to Seattle’s Holocaust Center for Humanity.
I see the world being slowly turned into wilderness. I hear the approaching thunder, that one day will destroy us too. And yet, when I look at the sky, I feel that everything will change for the better. — Anne Frank, July 15, 1944
James Whitbourn composed this choral work with libretto compiled and translated by Melanie Challenger from Anne Frank’s “The Diary of a Young Girl.” This moving journey is told by Annelies Marie Frank, known to the world as Anne Frank, through the collection of letters and private thoughts recorded in her diary between 1942 and her untimely death in early 1945. Her story has inspired millions of readers since it was first published in Dutch in 1947 by Anne’s father, Otto Frank.
Melanie Challenger’s libretto, set to music so carefully and beautifully by James Whitbourn, captures the essence of Anne’s humor, her fears and observations — and her unwavering hope when facing one of the worst horrors that the modern world has endured. Stephen Marshall-Ward, reSound’s founding music director, offers his perspective: “This real story of courage, focus, grace, bravery, and gratitude teaches us so much about the human experience, how we are all connected even when forcibly placed on opposing sides in a conflict, and how we each chose — every day — how we will experience the world immediately surrounding us. The atrocities of genocide have permeated human history and continue to occur around the world today. Our mission is to use our art to bring attention to the effects these historical and current events have on individual lives. ”
Annelies features soprano soloist Stacey Mastrian, recognized by the Washington Post as “a sweet, shimmering soprano,” a Fulbright Grantee with National and International performing credits. When asked about what drew her attention to the work and this production, she said, “Throughout my career, I have focused on singing repertoire that is new, has been neglected, and/or that has social justice elements…When I looked through the Annelies score, it resonated with me musically and personally; I felt that I had something to offer through honoring the intentions of the composer and the author.“
The work’s chamber ensemble includes violinist Luis Nenninger, cellist Tim Pizzichemi, and clarinetist Beverly Setzer. Stephen Marshall-Ward, reSound’s founding musical director, will play the piano for these performances while Assistant Music Director, Paul Georgeson conducts the ensemble.
Annelies will be presented on Friday, May 17, 7 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church, Lynnwood; Saturday, May 18, 7 p.m. at Temple B’nai Torah, Bellevue; and on Sunday, May 19, 3 p.m. at Plymouth Church UCC, Seattle. Tickets are $30 at the door, $25 presale online. Group pricing is available for 10 or more, $15 each. Visit www.reSoundSings.org for more information.