Concert Videos · Summer 2021

July 16, 2021

Philadelphia Sinfonia Association and Commonwealth Youthchoirs present two amazing Virtual Performances, created by our talented young musicians this spring! This project was a creative opportunity for our young singers and instrumentalists to work together virtually on two wonderful pieces.

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The Heavens are Telling from “The Creation” by Franz Joseph Haydn

Philadelphia Sinfonia and Commonwealth Youthchoirs

Coached by Gary D. White, Elizabeth Parker, and Larry Hoenig

This Little Light of Mine  (spiritual) arranged by Dr. Robert Harris

Philadelphia Sinfonia Players and Commonwealth Youthchoirs

Orchestration by Gary D. White, Coached by Danielle Garrett, Elizabeth Parker, and Robert Harris

Program Notes

Two Sinfonia students wrote a brief Program Note about each of the pieces – read more for a glimpse behind the scenes into the context of these wonderful works.

Dr. Robert Harris: “This Little Light of Mine”

This collaboration between the Commonwealth Youth Choirs (CY) and Philadelphia Sinfonia Players began when Dr. Elizabeth Parker, the co-artistic director of CY and Maestra Garrett, chose the spiritual “This Little Light of Mine.” The two ensembles worked together over the spring to bring Dr. Robert Harris’s stunning arrangement, orchestrated by Maestro Gary White, to life for its premiere. Through its moving lyrics and tonality, “This Little Light of Mine” conveys an unrelenting optimism which remains as important as it was during a similar time in the 1950s and 60s, especially in the context of the battles against anti-Black violence currently being waged throughout the nation. As we continue to face these and other historic challenges, “This Little Light of Mine” reminds us that there is always hope in the darkness. Dr. Harris himself put it best — “regardless of what may happen, this light of mine will always be there to help me as a protector.”

-Jordan Rosh, violin, entering 12th grade

Franz Joseph Haydn: “The Heavens are Telling” from The Creation

“The Creation,” composed by Franz Joseph Haydn between 1797 and 1798, is an oratorio in three parts that describes God’s creation of the world as told in the Book of Genesis. “Die Himmel erz hlen die Ehre Gottes,” or “The Heavens are Telling,” depicts the conclusion of the fourth day and completes the oratorio’s first part. “The Heavens are Telling” is based on Psalms 19:1-3. Like the rest of part one, the soloists — soprano, tenor, and bass, represent the archangels Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael, respectively. Part one begins in the key of C minor, so Haydn’s transition to the brighter C Major during “The Heavens are Telling” denotes the triumph of light over darkness.

-Raphael Englander, percussion, entering 11th grade