The MCP is thrilled to premiere Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer Roger Ames’ “A Time for Healing,” the first movement of his new work, Symphony for the Pandemic. The lyrics come from Kitty O’Meara’s viral poem And The People Stayed Home, expressing our shared desire to make the most of every moment and powerfully tapping into our dreams for a post-pandemic world filled with hope, not fear.
Featuring members of both the Mendelssohn and Junior Mendelssohn Choirs of Pittsburgh, the singers embraced this opportunity to learn new technology and explore a new way to connect musically, despite the limitations of social distancing protocols. As a way to truly highlight the passion for music in our city, Music Director Matthew Mehaffey invited not only current choir members, but also singers who expressed an interest in auditioning for the chorus this season (despite a pandemic!). What a joy to share this creative undertaking beyond the usual boundaries of the group.
We hope you find encouragement and solace in this beautiful ode to the resilience of the human spirit. We invite you to join us in heeding the call to use the opportunities and learnings of the current moment to rethink how we connect more deeply with ourselves and with each other. We would love to hear your feedback on this performance, and anything else you’d like to share via E-mail or on our social media channels. Enjoy.
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. -excerpted from And The People Stayed Home, by K. O’Meara
Composer Roger Ames was born in Cooperstown, New York, December 2, 1944, the son of a self-taught church organist and first grade teacher, (his free pass to play the organ as a teenager). This and undoubtedly his mother’s 42 years as a teacher helped define his passionate love for creating music as well as teaching and conducting it. For more information on Roger and his music, visit his website.
Kitty O’Meara, a retired teacher and writer/poet living in Madison, Wisconsin, wrote And The People Stayed Home as she looked for the possibilities for hope in the time of the pandemic. Though shared initially through her small circle of Facebook friends, her poem went viral, inspiring composers, celebrities, performers, and more! She was dubbed the Poet Laureate of the Pandemic by Oprah Magazine. Read the story.