Giving thanks through song

Music on the Hill presents its professional choral ensemble, the Chamber Chorus, performing songs of love and hope in a pre-election Thanksgiving concert that will be conducted by Artistic Director David H. Connell.
Songs of Thanksgiving takes place on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 3, at the Wilton Presbyterian Church, 48 New Canaan Road.
The concert includes several early music works as well as songs by contemporary composers Aaron Copland, Eric Whitacre, Dwight Bigler, and Arvo Pärt. Many of the songs are settings of poetry from across the ages written in times of turmoil yet expressing hope for a brighter future.
'Genevieve Taggard wrote her poem Lark to address the dark times of the Great Depression,' says Connell. 'She spoke of a sunrise hoped for but not yet seen, a ray of light in the midst of night.' Copland 'took up her words in his musical setting of the poem 10 years later, when America was on the brink of entering into the Second World War.
'Through all time,' says Connell, 'artists have provided us with a note of hope when it is needed, and this concert will try to do the same.'
The concert program also includes My Love Walks in Velvet by composer and New Canaan native Gwyneth Walker, and an arrangement by Alice Parker of the Quaker folk hymn How Can I Keep from Singing.
'I think [music] is meant to unite us as human beings in a way that nothing else can,” Parker said. “If we're arguing with our rational minds, we're talking about what divides us. If we're singing with our intuitive minds, we are concentrating on what unites us.'
Parker died in August at age 91 having spent a lifetime composing, conducting, and teaching.
Known for its a capella performances, the Music on the Hill Chamber Chorus performs two concerts each year, in spring and fall.
Tickets for Songs of Thanksgiving are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Children and students are admitted free. Tickets may be purchased online at or reserved in advance at or at 203-529-3133.