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Concord Community Music School’s chamber group, Songweavers plan concerts

The Concord Community Music School’s Songweavers vocal group performs. The group, which has a concert on Sunday, is led by Peggo Horstmann Hodes.

The Concord Community Music School’s Songweavers vocal group performs. The group, which has a concert on Sunday, is led by Peggo Horstmann Hodes.

Concord Community Music School faculty member Andrea Veal had the flow of conversation in mind when she put together one of the school’s two singing events this weekend.

The Musicians of Wall Street’s recital, “An Exploration in Symmetry,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and include music by Handel, Aldridge, Ives and Bolcom. It will also feature complementary fabric art by Rosalind Revilock-Frost. Veal sings soprano, with Stefani Burk on oboe, Kate Jensik on cello and Kathryn Southworth on piano.

Veal will start and end the program with a Handel aria. After the first aria, instrumental work leads to three contemporary, spiritual pieces. From there, another instrumental work leads back to Handel.

“It seems actually really natural,” Veal said. “It seems like a form like that would be very restrictive, and you would think that the music wouldn’t be interesting, but it’s actually really interesting. You know, if you think about the way we explain ourselves in conversation, we’ll start with one idea and then we’ll sort of explain our idea and then we’ll sort of go back to the original idea. It’s just a very human thing.”

Not to mention, she says, any repetition is hidden by vocal “decorations,” or musical ornamentation.

“If you’ve ever listened to jazz, the singer will sing the tune, and then usually there will be, like, instrumental solos after that, and then after the solos the singer comes back in and sings the tune all over again,” she said. “So the singer usually the second time will change the tune or decorate it. And it’s the same idea in Baroque music. Audiences in the Baroque Era expected the singers to decorate the original melody. And so I’m definitely doing that.”

Despite the contrast in historical periods, Veal said audiences will likely find that the Baroque and modern music fit quite well together. The reason, she said, is that both have been written for a lighter voice type, as opposed to a Wagnerian soprano.

“Baroque music, if it’s done well and done the way it’s intended, feels really modern, feels really pertinent to our modern kind of feelings,” she said.

If all of that seems too subtle, Veal has added some drama to the program.

“Sometimes when people sing baroque music on their recital, they just stand there and sing it, with the music in front of them,” Veal said. “But I decided that if I was going to do these arias, it made sense to memorize them and to stage them and move around the stage and costume appropriately.”

One of the arias is taken from the legend of Apollo and Daphne. Daphne didn’t want to marry Apollo; she hated him. She ran away, but the only way she could escape was by asking her father to turn her into a tree.

“In that aria, I’m going to sort of turn into a tree on stage, putting leaves on my body, and I will have branches,” she said. “It’s really visually interesting. Baroque opera is meant to be a visual spectacle as well as a musical one. I love that period of music; it’s really my specialty. So if I was going to do these arias, I wanted it to be visually compelling.”

Songweavers perform

Another music school group will also shine this weekend. The Songweavers’ spring concert, “All My Life’s a Circle,” will be Sunday. Directed by Peggo Horstmann Hodes, who has taken over from the group’s founder, Carolyn Parrott, the recital will include traditional, African and contemporary composers and a song list that includes “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “We Are a Circle,” “Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell and “Happiness Runs” by Donovan.

Music School president Peggy Senter said that Hodes has been doing a wonderful job carrying on the legacy of the group meant “as a very nonthreatening invitation for women who had always been told they couldn’t sing.”

“We believe that everybody can sing,” said Senter. “Some people have been in Songweavers for 22 years, and some for a shorter period of time, and you know they are singing beautifully. And it’s not auditioned.

“It’s still that open-access choral opportunity for women. It’s really a beautiful spirit. Hopefully people will see that in this weekend.”

The Musicians of Wall Street’s “An Exploration in Symmetry” begins at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Concord Community Music School, at 23 Wall St. Admission is $15 for adults and $12 for students and seniors.

The Songweavers’ spring concert, “All My Life’s a Circle,” will be at 4 p.m. Sunday at the South Congregational Church, located at 27 Pleasant St. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors.

For information and tickets, call 228-1196 or visit

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