Morning Light
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The New York Choral Society presents Morning Light, a multidisciplinary digital performance of composer Kevin Siegfried’s new arrangement for a cappella chorus of the Shaker song Morning Light in collaboration with artist and choreographer David Thomson.

With text attributable to New York Shaker Lydia Annas, Morning Light reflects on the cycle of light to dark, calm to chaos and the belief that with faith we can weather any storm that life may bring.  David Thomson collaborates with dancer Nehemoyia Young portraying Rebecca Cox Jackson, a Shaker Eldress and freeborn Black woman who was known for her “gifts of power”.  The physical language of movement in Morning Light reflects ideas of spiritual engagement and abandon, echoing the physical manifestations of the original Shakers as the dancer is “moved by the spirit” in small and larger ways.  Rebecca’s power as a speaker is reflected in Nehemoyia’s compelling gaze and gesture

Read more about it in our press release here.

Read more about Rebecca Cox Jackson here.

Kevin Siegfried notes: “2020 has been a year of unparalleled challenges. Individuals, families, communities of all kinds have had to dig deep to find the inner resources to meet the challenges of each day. Flexibility, strength, resilience, innovation, compassion and care for one another have been at the center of our lives. For choral communities, the connecting practice of singing together has been put on hold, and choirs have born patiently an endless stream of postponements, cancellations, and questions with no easy answers…. Based on a  19th century Shaker song, ‘Morning Light’ signifies hope and embodies a promise – the light will return.”

David Hamilton Thomson explores the intersections of movement, text, sound and song. His collaborative interdisciplinary practice focuses on questions of presence, identity and the unconscious narratives that drive us. He creates performance installations in a range of temporal forms and mediums from short works to durational tasks. Recent projects center on the interrogation of presence and absence: what it means to be present, to be seen, and to see; if being present is a performance in itself; how does absence become a presence; how does one give space for absence as performance?

Morning Light, a featured production of The New York Choral Society’s Our Voices series, premieres Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 8pm.

Morning Light (2020)- Kevin Siegfried

Tho Life’s morn rose bright and cloudless
And the sun did brilliant appear,
There may be a fearful tempest,
Ere the noon of life draweth near.

Then stand firm as the rock of ages,
Tho the fiercest of winds may blow,
The light that illum’d thy early morning
Again will appear ere the evening close.

– Lydia Annas ca. 1870s

YouTube video