By Anastasia Tsioulcas
Located just blocks from the World Trade Center, Trinity Church and its St. Paul's Chapel have been part of New York's spiritual and musical life for centuries. Trinity was chartered as an Episcopalian church in 1697; George Washington worshiped at St. Paul's.
After Sept. 11, the church became an even more beloved focal point for its community. Although it is located just across the street from the World Trade Center, St. Paul's somehow escaped any physical damage. It quickly became an integral part of the recovery effort, and the chapel was a physical and spiritual refuge for rescue workers in the aftermath of the attacks.
The chapel was offered to first responders as a place to eat, rest, sleep and pray. A dedicated roster of hundreds of professional musicians took turns playing for the firefighters, police, emergency workers, construction workers and other professionals and volunteers who gathered there day and night. This musical ministry lasted for eight full months after Sept. 11.
To mark the decade that has passed, and to continue the church's services in healing and comfort, Trinity – which has long had a reputation for dynamic and vital musical offerings – is hosting a weeklong series of performances. At the heart of this observance is a day of nine choral concerts by Trinity's own choir, the New York City Master Chorale, the Young People's Chorus of New York City, the Washington Chorus, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem (Pa.) and the Copley Singers of Boston. These choirs from New York, Boston, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. represent communities that have shared particular grief after the attacks.
In Friday night's concert, titled Remember to Love: Let Us Love One Another With a Sincere Heart, the adult choirs will be joined by Trinity's resident contemporary music ensemble NOVUS NY. Guest soloists include violinist Gil Shaham, sopranos Jolle Greenleaf and Angela Meade, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, baritone Dashon Burton and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni.
The wide-ranging program features the complete FauréRequiem, Duruflé's Ubi caritas, the "Dona nobis pacem" from Bach's B Minor Mass and excerpts from Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem. Newer works include Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, Randall Thompson's Last Words of David, Marjorie Merryman'sWindhover Fantasy and Lukas Foss' setting of Psalm 23. The Anthony Furnivall arrangement of "Amazing Grace" and the spiritual "Soon ah Will Be Done" complete the program.