In the past 30 years, Philadelphia has generated several music organizations that have acquired national and international reputations. They usually fill special niches, so most Philadelphians aren’t even aware they exist. And those local audience members who regularly attend these concerts are sometimes so niche that they may not realize they're witnessing a light that shines in other skies.
Donald Nally’s new-music choir The Crossing is a prime example. In 2018 and 2019 they won back-to-back Grammys for their recordings of works that the ensemble commissioned and premiered. The Crossing provided the chorus for Kile Smith’s Vespers, a piece that has won an international award and more repeat performances than most living composers see in a lifetime. (Philadelphians who suffer from New York inferiority syndrome can be advised The Crossing has been officially elevated by the ultimate authority. The New York Times has called them “America’s most astonishing choir.”)
Their annual holiday event, The Crossing at Christmas, will offer its unique take on the season and its moral message. The older work on the program, David Lang’s 2007 The Little Match Girl Passion, approaches the suffering of the child in Anderson’s story in the same way Bach approached the suffering of Jesus in his passions. The Crossing will also give the world premiere of Edie Hill’s Spectral Spirits, an elegy on birds that have become extinct. Both pieces focus on the themes of the season, with the premiere extending feelings of sympathy and generosity to other species.
What, Where, When:
The Crossing will present The Crossing at Christmas on Friday, December 20, at 7:30pm at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut St., and Sunday, December 22, at 5pm at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia.
Tickets are $29 for the Friday performance; $35 general admission, $25 for seniors, and $20 for students for Sunday’s performance. They’re available online and at the door.