P.S. I mentioned my opening letter in the program. I'm reprinting it below, since I'm sure many of you didn't get a program. Just wanted to share it with you since there's no way I'd have been able to read it aloud...
When my brother, David, was born, cerebral palsy wasn’t something my parents had ever heard of. But it became part of our everyday conversation in the months after May 4, 1977. He was slow to do everything physical: crawling at eighteen months, taking his first assisted steps at age three. But those potential obstacles were irrelevant to him. He wanted to be involved in the things everyone was doing. And you can be sure I didn’t cut him any slack.
He has had to be resilient throughout this life; some things just take him much longer than other people. But he did not let those potential setbacks slow him down; he walked, he ran, he learned to drive, he went to college, he got married. My experience growing up with my brother taught me that limitation can often spur great ingenuity, in both life and art.
When we chose this semester’s theme, Resilience, the meaningful connection between our incredible guest artist, Tony Memmel, and the idea of exploring both the effort needed to overcome potential obstacles and also the ability to bounce back from potential setbacks seemed clear. And we spent time drawing those connections with our singers both through our conversations and rehearsals with Tony and with the music we were studying. We worked harder, dug deeper for meaning, spent extra time peeling back layers. We studied music that came out of historical instances of resilience: the Holocaust, the African-American diaspora, and more.
Our singers found, like Tony, David, and many others, that they too were resilient. They found times when they wanted something so much that they would not be held back. They discussed experiences in which they didn’t succeed and needed to deal with those setbacks, often finding a new path forward they wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. We hope this weekend’s concerts move you to consider the ways we all face both visible and invisible challenges, and that the music we share today helps you recognize the reservoir of strength that lies inside each of us.