Tag Archives: Cappella Romana

Too much, not enough, just what I need

16 Mar

For several years now, a friend and I have had season’s tickets to a local vocal group called Cappella Romana.

Our March concert was supposed to happen Saturday. The group was going to perform Tchaikovsky’s Divine Liturgy, with a basso profundo and the 100+ voices of the Pacific Youth Choir. Unfortunately, this was the day after I was supposed to come home from Outdoor School and the day I was supposed to take my team to our OBOB regional meet. When I learned that all of these events were going to collide, I gave my ticket back to my friend, knowing there was no way I’d be able to make it, even though it was the concert I was most excited about.

Earlier in the month, their Seattle concert was cancelled because of the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus. The group did not want to take the young singers of the Pacific Youth Choir – or their own artists – to Seattle. With the Oregon governor’s announcement last week that events of over 250 people would have to be cancelled, it looked as though the Portland concert would suffer the same fate.

And then I got a message saying that, rather than cancelling, Cappella Romana would livestream the concert from St Mary’s Cathedral in Portland – without a live audience.

And so I spent Saturday night, watching a performance I had expected to miss. The music was glorious and just the sort of thing my soul needed in these trying times.





From the ridiculous to the sublime

21 Nov

I was sitting in the pub, awaiting friends, when the host began helping a man set up his screen.  Must be celebrating a birthday or something, I thought.

My friends arrived, we ordered and talked, and I forgot about the group. And then the first image was projected onto the screen: The Beer Chorus. An MC took a mike and explained that they were the Portland Beer Choir. From that point on my attention wavered between my companions and the Beer Choir. They had a hymnal! They sang songs I’d never heard, some I had, and some to tunes I recognized with words I did not.

(Sing to the tune of “Do, a deer”)

FA, a long way for a beer

SO, I need another beer

LA, la la la la, la beer

As our dinner progressed more and more beer choir people appeared. I was fascinated.

We got up to leave, just as they were singing and pounding the table to The Wild Rover.

It was a beautiful Fall evening as we walked the few blocks from the pub to the church, where the concert that had called my friends and I out, would be held. We have seasons tickets to Cappella Romana, a vocal ensemble that performs early and contemporary sacred classical music in the Christian traditions of East and West. Saturday’s concert, entitled Arctic Light II: Northern Exposure, featured sacred works from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Estonia.

For years we’ve had tickets in row D. This year, due to a transition to a new office person, we have tickets in a variety of seats. For this concert we were in row A, the very front, and it was a powerful place to sit for this amazing concert.

The piece they sang for their encore, the Sandstrom arrangement of the hymn Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming which slows down this hymn that has long been one of my favorites. It was sublime.




The Golden Age of Venice SOLSC 23

23 Mar

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening in Venice. Not the Venice of today, but La Serenissima, the Venie between the early 16th century and the fall of the Venetian Republic at the close of the 18th century.


The Portland Art Museum currently has an exhibit entitled Venice: The Golden Age of Art and Music. I actually went to entice thirty years ago so my memories are rather hazy. Yesterday made me want to go back.  As my friend and I wandered we learned a little about Venice’s history and it’s place in the world of music, art and politics. She had been to Venice more recently and was able to add personal stories to things we saw.   Along with the paintings, the exhibition includes prints, drawings, illuminated manuscripts and sculptures along with original period instruments and early music texts. This was my favorite musical instrument


an ancestor of the oboe, made of wood and covered in leather. It was about 3 or 4 feet long.

There is a digital tour if you would like to go too.

After the museum visot and dinner we attended a concert in the ballroom featuring Cappella Romana singing religious songs of the eriod composed by Baldassare Galuppi and Dmitri  Bortniansky, and The Portland Baroque Orchestra performing Vivaldi.   A beautiful day of art, followed by a sublime evening of music. It was truly a great way to begin Spring Break

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