Tag Archives: Edward Thompson

Choral Chameleon Pops Up At Unitarian Church

Choral Chameleon is well named.

The New York ensemble works in a dynamic blend of genres and art forms — whatever type of choral music is called for, whenever they’re called to perform.

This year’s tour was inspired by the questions: “Regardless of whether we lean left or right, what if we could just leave the zoo? Would we find utopia, or go back to the never-ending search for meaning we humans have been on since creation?”

Cue: “If I Left the Zoo.”

Choral Chameleon

Using humor, animals and music ranging from the Beatles’ “Blackbird” and “I Am the Walrus” to the world premiere of Westport’s own Edward Thompson’s whimsical a cappella trilogy “Aphorisms of the Zookeeper,” Choral Chameleon returns to Westport’s Unitarian Church this Saturday for their only Fairfield County appearance.

The February 22 concert “explores the primal instincts in humans, and the stories and fables of earth’s creatures and transformations.”

For example, Thompson’s new work includes “Alligators.” It’s based on the saying “When I’m up to my neck in alligators, I remember that my intention was to drain the swamp.”

Animals can teach us about life — and with a bit of humor. Both are much needed these days.

Edward Thompson

Thompson — the church’s music director — has quite a resume. He earned a master’s degree from Juilliard, a doctor of musical arts from the University of Hartford, and did post-doctoral work at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

He has composed dozens of pieces for youth, mixed, women’s and men’s choirs, as well as instrumental works.

But this is his first for — okay, about — animals.

 (Choral Chameleon’s “If I Left the Zoo” tour is Saturday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, click here.)

Unitarians Offer Musical “Journey Of Light”

Christmas songs are not for the faint of heart.

“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” makes some folks puke. “Jingle Bell Rock” can push you over the edge. And don’t get me started on “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

So it’s good to know that there is still some true holiday music out there.

This Sunday (December 15, 11 a.m.), the Unitarian Church in Westport hosts a special performance. Music director Ed Thompson has written a wonderful piece. Using uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), tin whistle, violin, organ, bodhran hand drum and harp — and backed by a chorus and soloists — “Journey of Light” celebrates the winter solstice.

It’s holiday music with a twist: secular, warm and melodic. The text is not biblical — but it is deeply spiritual.

“Journey of Light,” at the Unitarian Church.

With authentic Irish instruments, and rhythmic jigs and reels, Thompson’s work asks why we sing during the darkest of seasons. The answer: the importance of community, of sharing our own inner light, and the importance of yearly celebrations that date back thousands of years.

Thompson — Juilliard-trained, whose works have been commissioned throughout the US and Europe — has assembled noted musicians for the piece. Jerry O’Sullivan is one of the premier Irish pipe players on the East Coast, while Nicole Schroeder (tin whistle) has worked on Broadway.

The public is invited to enjoy this hopeful, exciting and celebratory work.