we must sing

 Posted by on Saturday, November 7, 2020  The Choir Diary
Nov 072020

For a singer, singing isn’t a choice. It’s a compulsion. We must sing.

In the shower, in the car, nursery rhymes, the happy birthday song… every chance to sing is a happy moment.

For the choir creature, the highest form of singing is in harmony with others. We join our brothers and sisters around the world in desperate longing to sing with others right now.

As such, it is worth noting the creative, awkward, and at times desperate ways singers are attempting to sing together safely in this time.

Take one of our unofficial* garage singing groups, who met last week to sing in a parking garage in Boulder. The search for a public space with room to spread, favorable airflow and satisfactory acoustics is not easy. During their session last week, they had to compete with a jackhammer job!

(Bravo, crew!)

The choir creature will sing on. On Election Tuesday, another group met to sing in the evening. They put down their phones, abandoned their news feeds, forgot about division in the world. And for 90 blissful minutes they centered themselves on shared vibrations and shared meaning.

Choir singers need each other.

I know all Cantabilites are finding a way to sing right now, whether amongst themselves, with their household members, or alongside a favorite recording.

While we are grateful for any opportunity to sing, whether alone in the shower or together with jackhammer, it is no replacement for Cantabile rehearsals and performances.

The great irony of this season is that choir singers need each other more than ever. We need harmony, we need unity, we need shared experience and we need connection. Yet chorale signing is simply out of reach.

But we will not lose heart. We will persevere and find creative ways to overcome. And cling to those small moments of unison with something or someone.

Above all, we know that this season… this too shall pass.

Until next time…

Earth Song

Frank Ticheli

Sing, be, live, see
This dark stormy hour
The wind, it stirs
The scorched Earth cries out in vain

Oh war and power, you blind and blur
The torn heart cries out in pain

But music and singing have been my refuge
And music and singing shall be my light

A light of song, shining strong
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Through darkness and pain and strife
I’ll sing, I’ll be, live, see


*Some Cantabile members have gathered to sing and are self-organized and not formally affiliated with Cantabile.

sky loom

 Posted by on Tuesday, November 3, 2020  The Choir Diary
Nov 032020

In November 2016, we performed “Sky Loom” by Jean Belmont Ford at First Congregational Church of Boulder. In light of the devastating fires we’ve experienced in Colorado in 2020, it feels timely to revisit this piece which Belmont Ford composed from two North American Indian texts “intended to symbolize the intertwined threads that link a parent and child – or a people and the land.”

Cello played by Julie Emery. Part of the concert series titled Choral Heritage of the United States. Video editing by Cantabile member Hari Baumbach.


 Posted by on Monday, October 26, 2020  The Choir Diary
Oct 262020
Margaret R. Friesen;

It is over there;
Can’t you see it?
Far away and

Crying and
Sleepless nights.

Things end,
There’s no room

Is everything
Although not everything
I guess because
There’s no crying there
Or there shouldn’t be.

There’s everything that could be
but there…
There isn’t


is horizons

There is
a horizon

is over and
over again

There is

There is

There for
not knowing
and not being


is not

might come to us

cannot be made
or felt fully here
or even

even as we
see or know a

‘There’ is not
a ‘there’ nor a

Here is
the point and

There exists because of

Here which
pervades all

There is.

There is all.
There was all.
There will be

It’s all There.
Everywhere there is
or was
or will be a
There where
Here and
There where all is
There and
Here where all isn’t


‘Utopia’, a poem by Cantabile alto Maggie Friesen, was written as part of a CU senior thesis project about the complex ideas of utopia.

some things are different…

 Posted by on Tuesday, October 20, 2020  The Choir Diary
Oct 202020

…some things are the same

In these last 6 months, choirs have had to reinvent how they make music together. When we went into isolation this past March, Cantabile began meeting through video conferences. We quickly learned that the things we had taken for granted were now technologically puzzling, if not impossible. We discovered that it isn’t possible to sing through video conferencing without large investments by our singers in computer and internet upgrades, and that while technology might be a bridge for some, it was a barrier for others. We found whatever solutions we could, did our best despite these issues, and continued to connect through the art of music in any way we could find. After a summer hiatus, we returned to our online format, and I was determined to find ways that felt as meaningful and as accessible as possible. We meet every other week, we discuss and listen to beautiful and important art, and in the next few weeks we’ll begin work on a virtual performance that you won’t want to miss.

While the methods are different, the reason we meet and reach out to all of you is the same. We love to make music together because of the meaning it brings to our lives. We love to present performances because they allow us an opportunity to express and comment on important ideas and emotions. The world needs art more than it ever has and we at Cantabile will continue, however the method might change, to create meaningful art that builds connection both within and outside of our ensemble.

In that spirit, we created a virtual performance of The Road Home, by Stephen Paulus.

The Road Home

finding a way…

 Posted by on Monday, September 28, 2020  The Choir Diary
Sep 282020

Contributed by a small group of Cantabile singers, the Garage Singers.

When the necessary reactions to COVID were enforced, the idea of not being able to gather weekly to sing was devastating. But the perseverance and careful caution of a determined few has helped me fight the isolation in a more expressive way than I could have imagined. It’s remarkable how our small group of vocalists has been able to transform a space so bland and industrial into one full of harmony and I like to think that the occasional passerby is enlightened by it as well.

Vaughn Erhardt Weiss

ich fahr dahin, wenn es muß sein

Choirs everywhere are prevented from gathering to sing during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the choir enthusiast and especially for a Cantabilite, this is like losing oxygen. We grieve the loss of singing together in person and performing for our community.

As an inadequate but extremely meaningful replacement, some singers have gathered informally in ventilated parking garages for distance singing. To our delight and amusement, we have heard other people doing the very same thing at the very same time, but one parking garage over.

I look forward to the garage singing time so much! It’s so sweet to be able to get together and sing, especially now that social events are so limited.  It’s lovely to hear everybody’s favorite pieces, and good practice to carry a part ourselves. The magic of feeling our voices resonating together is irreplaceable and such a treasure to me.

Michelle Fitzgerald

We often conclude our gathering with Brahm’s Abschiedslied, which always feels fitting. A love letter from us to Cantabile.

Nun halt die Treu als stet als ich!
So wie du willt, so findst du mich.
Halt dich in Hut, das bitt ich dich!
Gesegn dich Gott! Ich fahr dahin!
Ich fahr dahin, ich fahr dahin!

We miss choir, we miss Cantabile, but we know this won’t last forever. We will once again gather to sing as a whole… soon.