A Socially Distanced, In-Person Experience, Live with Entry at Timed
Intervals Along a Path Through the Woods – October 3 and 4, 2020
“America’s most astonishing choir” – The New York Times
On Saturday, October 3, 2020 and Sunday, October 4, 2020 from 4:30-5:30pm, GRAMMY-winning new-music choir The Crossing, led by Donald Nally, presents a unique, socially distant, live performance titled The Forest. In a time when choirs cannot sing and perform together in conventional ways, The Forest features the 24 singers of The Crossing performing along a trail at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve in New Hope, Pennsylvania, situated in the sounds and sights of the woods, while audience members walk, socially distanced, through the soundscape and landscape.
The Forest focuses on the symbiotic relationship between individual trees and the forest – a metaphor for the relationship between each singer and the ensemble. The libretto is formed from The Crossing singers’ reflections on their isolation during COVID-Time, overlaid with texts from Scott Russell Sanders’ essay Mind in the Forest. The music has been developed by conductor Donald Nally and assistant conductor Kevin Vondrak.
Under the guidance of in-house sound designer Paul Vazquez, The Crossing has developed a new amplification system, Echoes, to present The Forest in accordance with social distancing guidelines. Echoes allows singers to stand and safely sing 30 feet from each other and from the audience while listeners walk along a well-worn, mostly flat path of approximately .3 mile lined with speakers. Though the work captures the isolation of singers during the pandemic, Echoes paradoxically allows the experience to be intimate and personal. The 20-minute, intimate experience attempts to reestablish those currently-broken relationships between singers and audience members, and tells The Crossing’s story – a story of a planet in crisis, its people and its forests in peril, and yet, in that curiously human way, a story of hope and a way forward.
The Forest experience is available by reservation only, entering at timed intervals in family pods (1-4 people), with two-minute buffers between each group. Pods walk along a prescribed trail, in a loop that does not require them to double back across other audience members or singers. Comfortable shoes appropriate to hiking or long walks are required.
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve, founded in 1934, is the nation’s one-and-only living botanical museum specifically devoted to native plants, including 134 acres of diverse habitat on 4.5 miles of trails. Learn more at www.bhwp.org.
The Crossing Presents The Forest
Saturday, October 3, 2020 from 4:30pm-5:30pm
Sunday, October 4, 2020 from 4:30pm-5:30pm
*Rain Date: Monday, October 5, 2020
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve | 1635 River Rd | New Hope, PA
Tickets: $20. Timed entry every two minutes. Timed entry requires audience members to arrive 10 minutes prior to the entry time. Upon arrival, staff will check-in, and the audience will queue for staggered entry into the piece. In order to maintain safe distancing, late arrivals cannot be guaranteed entry.
About The Crossing
The Crossing is a Grammy-winning professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally and dedicated to new music. It is committed to working with creative teams to make and record new, substantial works for choir that explore and expand ways of writing for choir, singing in choir, and listening to music for choir. Many of its nearly 110 commissioned premieres address social, environmental, and political issues.
The Crossing collaborates with some of the world’s most accomplished ensembles and artists, including the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, Beth Morrison Projects, Allora & Calzadilla, Bang on a Can, Klockriketeatern, and the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Similarly, The Crossing often collaborates with some of world’s most prestigious venues and presenters, such as the Park Avenue Armory, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Pennsylvania, National Sawdust, David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Haarlem Choral Biennale in The Netherlands, The Finnish National Opera in Helsinki, The Kennedy Center in Washington, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space in New York, Winter Garden with WNYC, and Duke, Northwestern, Colgate, and Notre Dame Universities. The Crossing holds an annual residency at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky, Montana where they are working on an extensive, multi-year project with composer Michael Gordon and filmmaker Bill Morrison.
With a commitment to recording its commissions, The Crossing has issued 21 releases, receiving two Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance (2018, 2019), and five Grammy nominations. The Crossing, with Donald Nally, was the American Composers Forum’s 2017 Champion of New Music. They were the recipients of the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, three ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, and the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award from Chorus America.
Recently, The Crossing has expanded its choral presentation to film, working with Four/Ten Media, in-house sound designer Paul Vazquez of Digital Mission Audio Services, visual artists Brett Snodgrass and Steven Bradshaw, and composers David Lang and Michael Gordon on live and animated versions of new and existing works. Lang’s protect yourself from infection and in nature were specifically designed to be performed within the restrictions imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic.
The Crossing is represented by Alliance Artist Management. All of its concerts are broadcast on WRTI, Philadelphia’s Classical and Jazz public radio station. Learn more at www.crossingchoir.org.
*Artwork by Steven Bradshaw with Nyahzul C. Blanco