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Light Dawns Again

Chorus Polaris in concert . . .
Get tickets for Sunday, February 19th here.

After a pandemic-induced period of darkness, “Light Dawns Again” will be presented by Chorus Polaris on February 18th and 19th. The concerts will feature the premiere of Song of Nature, a newly commissioned cantata by award-winning Minnesota composer David Evan Thomas that draws from the poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson.


Artistic Director William Mathis will lead Chorus Polaris and a select instrumental ensemble in a program that also includes works spanning several centuries: Giovanni Gabrieli's In Ecclesiis and John Rutter's Requiem.


When Mathis approached him to compose a work to pair with Rutter’s Requiem, Thomas says “I sought a text vibrant with life.” He found that in two early Emerson poems, recurring themes of water and tide from “Song of Nature” and undersong from “Woodnotes II.”


“The undersong is the terrestrial equivalent of time and tide that runs underneath like a roots system,” he says. “Undersong speaks to the notion that we are part of a continuity in time and space just as waves transmit energy over time and space.”


The four-movement cantata features varied pacing and textures, with overall delicate instrumental accompaniment.


“When scoring, I think of lines that give forward motion,” he says, a characteristic most evident in the polyphonic second movement with its spirited interplay of vocal lines.

Thomas has received many composition commissions including from the Minnesota Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the American Composers Forum and the American Guild of Organists. He was the first composer-in-residence at the Schubert Club (1997–2005), and received their “An die Musik Award” for outstanding service in 2016, and continues as a program annotator.


“Light Dawns Again” concerts are 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, February 18, at First Lutheran Church, 1555 40th Ave NE, Columbia Heights, and 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 19 at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 4801 France Ave. S., Edina.

Admission: $10 in advance and seniors; $15 at the door; under 21 free.

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