The Choral Arts Society presented Into the Light, a unique sight and sound performance, on Friday and Saturday (April 5th and 6th) at the Dupont Underground.
The sold out shows took advantage of the generous acoustics of the underground streetcar station, and alongside JD Madsen’s production design, provided a full sensory experience.
“I have been looking for opportunities to present choral music in a more interactive and immersive way,” said Choral Arts’ Artistic Director Scott Tucker. “I thought [Dupont Underground] would be an interesting place to explore light and sound as well as some movement.”
Audiences agreed. Ninety minute performances held participants’ attention through moving visual projections paired to accentuate the vocals and resonance. Each act had a purpose related to the overall theme — some political, some spiritual.
The acoustics of the cavernous space, as well as the concepts of light and darkness, are what inspired Tucker’s choices of the various pieces of the musical program, which included such works as Steve Reich’s “Different Trains,” a choral and double string quartet of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” and “The Moon and Her Maidens.” The last, a piece created by Tucker, was specifically composed for the venue.
Tucker said he hoped Into the Light would “enable audience members to engage with the music with a little more intensity than they would find in a traditional concert setting.”
Standing close to each other, internalizing the sights and sounds and reverberations of the space, participants certainly experienced something new and different from DC’s oldest symphonic chorus.
The Choral Arts Society is a 130 voice chorus founded in 1941. Upcoming performances include Gabriel Fauré: Requiem, at the Kennedy Center, on May 19th, and A Capital Fourth, on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, on July 3rd.