With Cradle of Fire: A Tribute to the Women of World War II, the Indianapolis Women's Chorus provides a program of significant content and sterling musicianship. This well-blended 44-voice chorus has the quality to go from robust women horsing around as a relief from tours of duty, to emaciated prisoners chanting relief from their dire oppression, to defiance in being silenced, to hymns of hope for a better world. IWC places you in the honesty of the human experience. Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's 'Classical Christmas' at Scottish Rite Cathedral is just one of many holiday choral events coming up.
A live recording of their June 26-27, 2004, concert, this CD also earns high praise for its liner notes.
We, of a certain age, remember with pride the women in uniform, in munitions plants and at USO Canteens. Even before Pearl Harbor, the Andrews Sisters inspired close harmony while maintaining individuality. Then, song stylist Vera Lynn made us believe birds could sing in the midst of Nazi bombings of London. Performed here by Sapphonia, IWC's nine-member ensemble, "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" is a bridge to war's ugly side.
With "Largo," tears well and they don't abate for the next half hour of clinging to hope in the face of inhumanity. British, Australian, Dutch and Eurasian women and children were imprisoned by the Japanese in 1942. A decade earlier, Nazis in all parts of Europe began herding anyone different into concentration camps or slaughtering them outright in ghettos. "Cradle of Fire" shows faith in agony. "Shadows on the Rock" reminds us non-military women and children are vaporized with no public monuments in their memory.
"The Beauty of Your Dreams," commissioned for IWC's 10th anniversary, challenges us to care.
Cradle of Fire is on sale for $15 at the IWC "Star of Wonder" concerts at the Indiana History Center Theater, 450 W. Ohio St., Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 931-9464 or log onto www.indychoruses.org.
Season of song
Handel may have a choral corner on the holidays, but vocal offerings go well beyond Messiah. Here's an overview of what's available the rest of the season.
* Christmas at Marian Madrigal Dinners
Clowes Memorial Hall,
4602 Sunset Ave.
Dec. 10-11 at 7 p.m.
Free admission, ticket required
University of Indianapolis
Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center, 1400 E. Hanna Ave.
* "Christmas Celebration"
U of I Choral Ensembles, Chamber Orchestra, Handbell Ensembles
Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 12 at 4 p.m.
Indianapolis Arts Chorale
Freemason Hall, 525 N. Illinois St.
* "Christmas Revels: A Celebration of the Winter Solstice"
Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.
$10-$20; 847-9673; www.artschorale.org
Indianapolis Women's Chorus
Indiana History Center Theater
* "Stars of Wonder"
Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 12 at 3 p.m.
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Raymond Leppard, conductor
* "Classical Christmas" at Scottish Rite Cathedral, 650 N. Meridian St.
Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.
$48 and $54; 639-4300; www.IndianapolisSymphony.org
Christ Church Cathedral
* Handel's Messiah (Parts I & II)
The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys; Festival Orchestra Chamber Ensemble
Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m.
Free; 637-4577; www.cccindy.org
Indianapolis Children's Choir
St. Luke's United Methodist Church
* "Angels Sing"
Dec. 17-18 at 8 p.m.
* "Celebrate the Season"
Dec. 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Free; 940-9640; www.iccchoir.org
Indianapolis Men's Chorus
609 E. 29th St.
* "Winter: A Season of Beginnings"
Dec. 18 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 19 at 3 p.m.