Lofty Sounds: Site Singing Traditions in NYC

I met Sig Rosen at the Composers Concordance Records label launch party at St. Marks Church in The East Village late last autumn. He’s known those folks for a while, especially in this case, because vocalist Patricia Sonego had just performed my “Thou Art Translated (Knot)” with me and dancer Megan Sipe at the event.

Things being as they are these days, we became friends on Facebook and, noting his interests on his info page, I saw that Medieval and Renaissance vocal music was one of his passions. His interest stems back to the Renaissance Chorus of New York, a group founded by Harold Brown in the early 1950s.

I decided to send him a link to my site which houses a 20 minute vocal suite I created in 2008 as a commission from medieval music enthusiast (and the work’s librettist) Bruce Barrett, my (uncharacteristic) “Three Choral Pieces in Latin.”

From here, Sig told me all about the vocal groups and overlapping subsets that he has been a part of for years. He asked, would I be interested in having one of these groups, the Friday Night Singers (led by Marge Naughton), do a reading of these pieces I wrote? Of course I would!

Normally, they meet uptown but, due to seasonal flu, the owner of that loft could not do it on January 14, the night we set up. Instead, we met in Chelsea at the loft of John Hetland, director of the Renaissance Street Singers, who was gracious to let us all meet there and sing through not only my pieces, but also a few of his great choral transcriptions of which he has created volumes.

This audio slideshow is a bit of conversation with Sig Rosen from that night:

Audio and pictures by Jocelyn Gonzales.

Patrick Grant

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