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Ember Choral Ensemble To Perform Two Concerts In April

Ember Choral Ensemble To Perform Two Concerts In April

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Ember(Dr. Deborah Simpkin King, Founding Artistic Director) the critically acclaimed choral ensemble of Schola Cantorum on Hudson will present a live concert entitled “Release” on Friday, April 16 at 8:00pm at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, 217 Prospect Street, South Orange.   They will also perform a live, immersive 360° virtual reality performance on Sunday, April 18 at 5:00pm from St. John’s in the Village, NYC.

Tickets for the April 16 concert are $10 and may be purchased online. *Strict COVID safety protocols will be in place. Limited tickets available. Must wear a face mask to enter.

Tickets for the April 18 virtual livestream are $10 and may be purchased online.

 The concert will begin with Eric Whitacre’s gentle wish for universality through “singing together, standing together . . . always.”

The cornerstone of “Release” is Ola Gjeilo’s stunning "Dark Night of the Soul" on text written in the 16th century by St. John of the Cross.   Ember singers will be joined by a string quartet from the American Modern Ensemble for this piece.  

Additional selections of the concert include the popular theme from The Mission, “Gabriel’s Oboe;” “Under the Willow Tree,” from Samuel Barber’s opera Vanessa; “Sing Out My Soul,” by Marques L. Garrett; “Nada te turbe,” by Joan Szymko; and closing with the uplifting spiritual, “Over My Head, I Hear Music in the Air.”


“We learned new ways of living and working; new ways of being human with other humans throughout the pandemic,” remarked Dr. Deborah Simpkin King, Founding Artistic Director. “Some changes we will certainly be glad to forfeit as soon as we can!  Others we may elect to retain, having learned new things that enhance life. Together, we seek to acknowledge the sense of loss and disorder that we are left with, and to make a proactive choice to hold more lightly some parts of life that may have seemed essential in the past.”

Schola Cantorum on Hudson (Ember), a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Dr. Deborah Simpkin King (Founding Artistic Director) and Karen Gonon (Interim Executive Director) is supported, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Investor’s Foundation. 

Founded in 1995 as an independent 501c3, the Schola Choral Arts organization has grown in depth and influence. It performs (as Ember) its full season in both Manhattan and South Orange, NJ, and enjoys international recognition particularly for its work in advocacy of new choral music. The organization is home to PROJECT : ENCORE, which serves as a bridge connecting composers with conductors who seek new music of exceptional quality.

Fundamental to Schola’s core values is the belief that music has a unique power to affect the human heart and soul, inviting each of us to become fully aware, mindful individuals. It is part of Schola’s mission to extend the role of Art beyond that of its own intrinsic value, leveraging it to bring visibility and expansive thinking to issues of human significance.

Core to the mission of Ember and Schola Cantorum on Hudson is to bring innovative programming designed to touch lives, inspire leadership through promotion of new music and enhance meaningful engagement with young singers.   

Deborah Simpkin King, Ph.D., is a visionary choral conductor, new music advocate, and master teacher. She plays an active role in the vibrant Manhattan choral scene and serves the national and international music community through her guest conducting and body of published work. 

Her leadership as a conductor is ongoing with not only her own choral ensembles, the semi-professional Ember of Schola Cantorum on Hudson and the choir of the Presbyterian Church of Chatham Township (PCCT), but also within Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival and other guest conducting appearances. Her commitment to nurturing the next generation in the arts can be seen through the growth of the Phoenix Initiative through Schola Cantorum on Hudson, along with her long-standing leadership of the NJ-ACDA High School Choral Festival.

Through PROJECT : ENCORE (which she founded in 2009), Dr. King is at the leading edge of the new music industry, working with composers in finding post-premiere performances, and performing many premieres herself.


As a monthly columnist with ACDA’s Choral Journal and host of public radio’s Sounds Choral, she serves the music community worldwide.

Supplementing her work in the not-for-profit and professional conducting arena, Dr. King frequently works as a professor and as a director of music within church programs.

originally published: 03/05/2021

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