There is nothing like the sound of voices singing in harmony — and if you’re like 1 in 6 Americans over the age of 18, you may well be one of the 54 million Americans singing in a choral group yourself, according to a study done by Chorus America.
But you don’t have to be a singer to appreciate the current popularity of choral music, or the immense group of talent coming to the East End this week. Mark your calendar for Sunday, October 8, and head to Sag Harbor for the rare chance to listen to one of the most exciting new choral groups in the world, Coro Mundi.
This diverse group of singers comes together from all over the globe once a year to rehearse and perform. This year, they will be taking the stage at the Old Whalers Church to perform the music of composers such as Michael Gilbertson, Paul Mealler, Sarah Rimkus, John Tavener and Eric Whitacre, under the direction of choir director Stephen Kushner.
The group of talented performers is made up of 32 U.S.-based singers from coast to coast, who will spend the week rehearsing at Camp Quinipet on Shelter Island (the summer home to one of the group’s integral singers, Alex Rappaport) before Sunday’s performance. There is no fee to attend, but a donation to the help bolster the choir’s efforts is suggested (and certainly welcome).
We caught up with Kushner, the in advance of this super-exciting East End debut to learn a little more about the group. Here’s what he had to say…
Southforker: How long has Coro Mundi been around?
Stephen Kushner: Coro Mundi was founded originally as the Orvieto Festival Choir in Orvieto, Italy, in 2018. Singing together in Italy was such a magical experience that we decided to form an ensemble that would continue to sing together in different locations around the world. Coro Mundi reemerged three years ago in its current form.
SF: Do the members change annually?
SK: The upcoming retreat and concert will bring together 32 of Coro Mundi’s U.S.-based singers from throughout the Northeast: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and the greater Philadelphia area, and as far away as Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco. The core members of the choir remain the same from year to year. This year, five new singers have been invited to join the group for this concert.
SF: Why did Coro Mundi begin?
SK: In 2018 we had the opportunity to collaborate with a string orchestra festival in Orvieto, Italy. In a span of nine days, we rehearsed and presented concerts to enthusiastic audiences in the historic Duomo di Orvieto, in Acquapendente, and at the Preggio Music Festival. This experience was so wonderful that we collectively decided to form an ensemble that would continue to sing together in different locations around the world.
SF: Are the singers professional or amateur, or both?
SK: Both. The choir is comprised of committed professionals and exceptional amateurs. For this upcoming concert, there are five professional singers, several semi-professional singers (those who are hired to sing for certain occasions but maintain a separate career) and highly skilled amateurs, some of whom have received advanced training as singers but have gone on to pursue other professions.
Coro Mundi will perform 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 8 at the Old Whalers Church at 44 Union St..