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Please join us for our next performance!

Sacred Threads
A concert to benefit
Sacred Threads organization

Saturday, February 4, 7:30 p.m.

First Church of Boston
66 Marlborough Street

Tickets: $45 Premium; $35 General Admission; $25 Students/Seniors with ID

online, by phone at 617-759-2057, or at the door (pending availability)

Weave some Sacred Threads with us....

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! I'm thrilled to announce that this new year began with some wonderful news for Calliope: We were awarded a $2,000 grant from the Boston Cultural Council! These much-needed funds will go a long way toward supporting our ensemble. I am very grateful to those in our organization who gave their time and effort to apply for the grant, and to the BCC for recognizing Calliope in this way!

Now, we're just a couple weeks from our February 4 concert, "Sacred Threads" — a benefit for a wonderful local organization of the same name. To celebrate their mission "to nourish, connect, and inspire women by weaving spirituality into everyday life," the program for this concert includes works by female composers, works about women, and works connected to various facets of spirituality. One of those works, Leaf to Leaf, was composed specifically for this performance by local composer Adria Stolk. You can read more about Adria and about this special piece later in this newsletter. If you haven't yet purchased your concert tickets, you can do so online using the link above. It will save time at the box office on the day of the performance, giving you the opportunity to peruse the items we'll have available for bidding during our silent auction. You may also want to use the time to warm up your vocal cords, as this concert will feature a piece that invites some audience participation, led by a special guest conductor!

As I shared with you all in our December newsletter, it is a time of transition for Calliope during this 10th anniversary year, as our current Assistant Music Director, Jacques Dupuis, will be taking the helm as Artistic Director beginning with our "Tapas" performance in April 2017. Those of you who attended our first-ever "Tapas" concert last April will recall its intimate setting and unique selection of works, and we are aiming to create that same experience this spring — with the added bonus of our 10th-anniversary celebration following the performance! Former and current Calliope members, along with our audience members and supporters both past and present, will be invited to celebrate with us. More information will follow in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Julia O'Toole, Artistic Director

Composer Profile: Adria Stolk
Calliope is excited to feature Adria Stolk's Leaf to Leaf in February's concert program. The piece was composed specifically for this performance, with Sacred Threads and its mission in mind. Here, we chat with Adria to learn more about her work and her inspiration for this particular piece.

Q: Tell us about your background, your music education, and your other compositions.
A: I grew up in Texas and took piano lessons as a teenager. I really loved playing the piano, but I didn't pursue a music degree initially and I didn't start composing until I was an adult. I studied business in college, and I worked as an accountant for about 12 years before deciding to return to school to focus on classical music and composition. I completed a B.M. in composition at Berklee in 2010, followed by a M.M. at The Boston Conservatory in 2012. I’m currently working on my D.M.A. [Doctor of Musical Arts] at Boston University, planning to finish in May. I enjoy writing both instrumental and vocal music, and I have focused primarily on chamber music thus far. I enjoy working with local groups in and around Boston. I'm excited to be working with Calliope for the first time on this current project, and I love that it is a benefit concert for a local group.
Q: What styles, or other composers, have influenced your own work?
A: I like and listen to many different kinds of music — classical, rock, folk, etc. — and I imagine that all of those things influence my own work in some way. In the classical realm, some of my favorite composers (to name only a few) are Bach, Beethoven, Britten, Ligeti, Takemitsu, and Abrahamsen.
Q: How did your relationship with Calliope, and the composition of Leaf to Leaf, come about?
A: Julia and I met a couple years ago in a course at BU. She asked me to write a piece for Calliope for this particular concert. Because it's a benefit concert for Sacred Threads, a women’s group, I think she liked the idea of having a female composer for this project, and I felt honored and excited to be part of this concert.
Q: Tell us about the text in Leaf to Leaf. Where does it come from, and what inspired you to use these particular texts?
A: I chose two poems by Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) for the text in Leaf to Leaf. I came across a collection of Tagore's poems, Gitanjali, a few years ago. Many of his poems are reflections on nature and the divine (or seeing the divine in nature), and these are themes that resonate strongly with me, particularly in terms of my composition work and creative process. Before I began composing Leaf to Leaf, I learned that the words “nourish, connect, inspire” are the words on which the Sacred Threads organization was built, and I wanted the text in the piece to relate to those words in some way. For me, spending time outdoors and being in nature is a consistent source of nourishment, connection, and inspiration — a place where I can always find beauty and gratitude, and feel a divine presence and energy around me, connecting me to others and to the gifts of the earth. I chose two of Tagore's nature-related poems that I thought were beautiful and would work well with music, and would connect with my own experience of the nourishment, connection, and inspiration found in nature.
Q: What moments in the piece do you feel are particularly moving or impactful?
A: Well, the way that music or text impacts or moves us is very different for each person, so it's hard to answer that question. But I can talk about the text, and some things I wanted to highlight with the music. For me, the text portrays a sense of peace and wonder; also a quiet kind of joy and exuberance. There is a delicacy and real tenderness in the poetry. It's also a very visual text — I have pictures in my mind for different parts of the poems, which were present as I composed. Overall, the music is quiet and fairly slow. There are only a few moments where the entire ensemble is playing, and only a few moments where the dynamic gets loud. I tried to save the full texture and loud dynamic for more climactic or grand moments in the text, such as "these great trees" and "the light is shattered into gold on every cloud." There are delicate, playful moments in the music, too. For example, when I was writing the music for "butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light," I had a specific visual image in mind: two swallowtail butterflies flying over and under each other in the afternoon light, above phlox plants in my garden. The music around this text has quiet oscillations in the strings, and canonic melodic fragments in the winds and vocals that reminded me of that visual image. Another part of the text that I just adore is "the heaven's river has drowned its banks, and the flood of joy is abroad" — it's so beautiful! For the music that follows this part of the text, there is another melodic fragment that is used canonically in various instruments, which reminds me of lapping waves. I don't expect that a listener would necessarily make those same associations between text and music, but this gives you some idea of how I was thinking about the text and music.
 Q: What do you hope the audience will feel or receive from the performance of Leaf to Leaf? And what do you hope that Calliope, as performers of the piece, will receive from it?
A: Having performers to bring the music to life, and having an audience to listen to the piece, are things that I am grateful for. Thank you in advance! I think of the audience as a group of individuals who come to a concert for different reasons, with different expectations or ideas about music and about what they want a concert experience to be. If individuals find something in my piece that they enjoy, or that challenges them, or bores them, or makes them feel curious, excited, confused, peaceful, or anything, really — it's all good, and part of the collaborative experience of music-making. For the performers, they will obviously spend more time with the music than the audience will. Time is a precious commodity for all of us, so I hope that the performers find something in the music that they like or feel curious about, or challenged by — something that makes their investment of time with my piece feel worthwhile. I think that making music is such an interesting way in which humans connect with each other — composer, performer, listener — we are all part of the experience, and that connection is one of the best and most beautiful things about music.

Unfamiliar with the music in our next concert, or need a refresher? Here are links to recordings of some of the pieces we'll be performing, available on YouTube:

* Cécile Chaminade, Rigaudon
(NOTE: This recording is a solo piano version, but we will be performing the orchestral version of the piece.)

* James Whitbourn, Annelies ("Kyrie")

A percentage of your purchase will be donated to Calliope if you link to through our website. Simply visit, click on the Amazon link at the top right of the page, then shop away. It's that easy! Thank you in advance for your support.
Calliope Member Q & A:
Erika Tabur, Alto
Q: What is your favorite piece on the "Sacred Threads" concert program, and what do you like about it?

A: Movement #9 of Dvořák's Saint Ludmila. I just love the intensity of it. My favorite thing about singing has always been how you can capture such a range of emotions with subtle changes in dynamics, and this piece really challenges us to do that.

Q: What was your early singing experience like?

A: I always sang loudly to Britney Spears and Shania Twain songs while I was growing up. When I was 9, I sang at my dad's best friend's engagement party, and then at the wedding. It wasn't planned — I just asked for permission, and sang my favorite Shania songs! It led to some random talent hunter telling my dad that he should look into voice lessons for me. I thought I'd be the next Britney, but my parents found a classical voice teacher for me to go to, and that changed my approach to singing just a bit.

Q: Have you made any New Year's resolutions, and if so, what do you hope to achieve in 2017?

A: I wouldn't consider myself big on New Year's resolutions. But in my work as a personal trainer, my current goal is to further develop my online fitness business, called Coach Erika. I've set a November 1 deadline for myself to make a real business out of it, to mentor with my fitness business idol — so the clock is ticking!
In celebration of the milestone of Calliope's 10th anniversary in 2016, we've put together this video to share who we are and what we're about. Check it out, and feel free to share it with your friends!
Calliope Member Q & A:
Omar Zeid, Bass Clarinet & Baritone
Q: You're performing "double duty" in our ensemble for the February concert, playing bass clarinet and singing baritone/bass. What do you enjoy most, and what do you find most challenging, about each role?

A: It's my first time playing bass clarinet, so just getting used to the size and the change in embouchure [the way in which a player applies the mouth to an instrument's mouthpiece] has been a big challenge. I also had to transpose most of my music from the bassoon parts, which became a little tedious. But it's a fine instrument to play, though, overall. As for singing, I like being able to use the low end of my vocal range (something that doesn't come up too often in songs I hear on the radio), and the biggest challenge is when the bass parts are divided, as we're a small section.

Q: How old were you when you started playing an instrument and/or singing, and do you have any early musical moments or memories that are special to you?

A: I started clarinet in 4th grade, and didn't join my school's chorus until 11th grade. I remember the middle school music teacher doing a demonstration of all the band instruments at an assembly, and that I really liked how the clarinet had an interesting sound that wasn't as obvious as the trumpet or saxophone — which is why I picked it.

Q: Where are you most likely to be found, when not in rehearsal?

A: At home or in the lab. I'm a graduate student, studying how the brain organizes musical rhythms.

Calliope is seeking to fill open positions on our Board of Directors.

Please contact Julia if you know someone who would be a great fit to help guide and shape the future direction of our organization.
We'd love to talk with them!
Mission Statement
Calliope shares the joy of music through passionate collaboration between singers and instrumentalists. It is our mission that audiences benefit from collaboration between instrumentalists and singers, resulting in deeper understanding and performance of the music. We pursue this goal by:
  • Providing excellent music to the community of Greater Boston via a new, more inclusive method of rehearsal and performance
  • Capitalizing on the power of music to contribute toward social improvement via one benefit concert each season for an organization whose mission is reflected in our programming for that performance
  • Cultivating artists and their supporters for the future through our mentoring scholarship program.
 Julia O'Toole, Artistic Director
Copyright © 2017 Calliope, Inc., all rights reserved.
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This program is supported in part by a grant from the Boston Cultural Council, a local agency which is funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, administrated by the Mayor’s Office of Arts + Culture.

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Calliope Inc. · P.O. Box 624 · Andover, MA 01810-0011 · USA

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