Manhasset Unitarian Universalists present musical plea for peace

Manhasset Unitarian Universalists present musical plea for peace

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset will present the timely and poignant Dona Nobis Pacem (“Give Us Peace”) by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams on Sunday, April 23 at 11 am. The full UUCSR choir, accompanied by The Orchestra at Shelter Rock and featuring vocal soloists, Sarah Moulton Faux, Leah Wool Holbreich, Michael St. Peter, and Brace Negron, will present a powerful musical plea for peace.

This extended musical work grew out of the composer’s first-hand experience of war as an ambulance driver in WW I. Vaughan Williams never got over the trauma that he witnessed during his service and spend the rest of his life haunted by dark and disturbing memories. In the early 1930s, when the rumblings of war were again on the horizon, his nightmares were rekindled, and he was compelled to express his view of the great cost of human and social effect of war. He turned to the texts of the great American poet Walt Whitman, the Christian and Hebrew bibles, and the contemporary political rhetoric of his time for inspiration.

“This piece captures not only a deep longing for peace, but it also intones the terror and unimaginable loss war brings both directly and indirectly,” reflects Music Director Stephen Michael Smith. “As we currently experience yet another war on the world stage, I felt called to give voice to this powerful and personal call for peace. The brass and percussion sections of the orchestra sound the incessant drumbeat of war as well as clarions for peace as the choir and soloists reflect on the human price of war. Preparing for this performance has been an emotional journey for everyone involved.”

Performed in its entirety, the work will be part of the Unitarian Universalist at Shelter Rock’s Annual Music Sunday Worship Service. The service is open to the public and there is no entry charge. The performance will take place at 48 Shelter Rock Road in Manhasset and will last approximately one hour. There is ample free parking and the facility is fully accessible.

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