New York Choral Society to Explore Visions in Newest, Digital Work ‘Angel of Light’

By Logan Martell

On April 3, 2023, The New York Choral Society will present its latest digital collaborative project, “Angel of Light.”

This project comes as part of its digital series “Our Voices,” which continues to reimagine choral performances. Composer Kevin Siegfried’s new cantata, which draws from Shaker texts and music, is brought to the screen by award-winning filmmaker Tania Cypriano and cinematographer Jeffrey Johnson. The work explores the feminine voice as an expression of divinity, with themes of illumination and visions.

“Our Voices” is based on an event in Shaker History known as the Era of Manifestation, when a number of girls in upstate New York began to report visions and enter trance-like states between 1837 and the middle of the 1850s. These experiences led to a surge in Shaker songs, dances, and art which would influence subsequent generations.

“For ‘Angel of Light,’ we are creating a video performance of a new choral work sung by our chorus in collaboration with a filmmaker who creates a visual experience that reflects on and responds to the music,” says Executive Director Pat Owens. “From as a far back as Pythia at Delphi, women have often served, although were not always celebrated, as messengers of the divine. Our film, which explores the poetic fervor created by young Shaker women in the 19th century in music and film, provides a window into the power of the feminine voice to inspire wonder and awe.”

The film will be available on their website and YouTube pages. Attendees of the organization’s annual gala at the Metropolitan Club on March 30 will be able to enjoy an advanced screening.