In May, Volti collaborated with Ensemble of Piedmont East Bay Children's Choir on Pandora's Gift, an interpretation of the Pandora's box legend. Denise Newman's vivid text was set to music by Mark Winges, Volti's composer-in-residence. The rich, complex piece was brought fully to life with staging by Erika Chong Schuch.
"Dawn", sung by Volti, creates an atmosphere of wonder with slightly ominous foreshadowing. In the second movement, "All Hell", the box is opened. All the world's horrors are released. This movement features the children in the virtuosic and chilling "Ticking Time." The final movement, "Hope" moves slowly out of the wreckage and towards optimism.
Putting this piece together was a wonderful stretch for both ensembles. Erika challenged us to motivate every musical and physical gesture with specific intention. The result was one of the most satisfying performing experiences in recent memory.
We reopen the box to share this piece at the Golden Gate International Choral Festival. We will perform at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland on Thursday 7/16 at 7pm.
Below are rehearsal and candid performance photos by Mark Winges: