What can I say that hasn’t already been said about the fabulous Chanticleer. It is simply hard to believe that 12 men can produce the music, sounds, sheer entertainment that this group so ably can. I sincerely hope you were at the San Antonio Chamber Music Society’s January 21st presentation of Chanticleer. Only 500+ music lovers filled Temple Beth-El for this alternately moving, sentimental, humorous concert – and everyone left humming the encore presentation, “Bei mir bist du Schön.”
The true art of Chanticleer is the production of a musical fabric, in this case “Heart of a Soldier.” The first songs dated from the 14th Century to the 20th, and covered battle-connected poetry and songs created through all those ages. Chanticleer wove these into a fabric with voices blending and moving through scales of harmonies. As I listened, I realized that what Chanticleer was weaving was a tapestry: each thread with a voice, each voice with a color. The whole cloth told stories of praise, of fear, of reliance on a greater power and of comradery.
Chanticleer was weaving was a tapestry: each thread with a voice, each voice with a color.
Still keeping with their theme of soldiers’ hearts, the second half of the program moved into the 20th century with wartime popular music that (for some of us elders in the audience) brought back visions of the Andrews Sisters as well as of Peter, Paul and Mary. Their rendition of “My Buddy” tugged at my own memories of military funerals, red poppies in lapels and the solemn white markers at Arlington. “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” was a Vietnam-era song, so poignant in its simplicity and so meaningful to all the young men and young women who faced tragedy in those years. Chanticleer made a hymn to peace out of Pete Seeger’s pop song.
As we all knew, this was a concert that would be special – and indeed it was. It elicited a range of emotions just as the voices of these remarkable musicians created a range of harmonies. The fact that they were also performing in several languages simply attests to their skill. I hope you were there to enjoy this most remarkable vocal concert.
And don’t forget another concert that promises a wonderful afternoon of musical bliss: the American Brass Quintet performs for our 75th season March 4th at Temple Beth-El. Having experienced the magic of 12 incredible voices, you won’t want to miss the magic of these wizards of brass! Remember, you can use any ticket from this season’s concerts or bonus tickets for either the American Brass or Orion String Quartet on April 15th at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church. Hope to see you there!
– E Doyle