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Across the Sea


This program celebrates the peopling of Whatcom County: of the sea (the original Native Lhaq’temish or Lummi tribe, who call themselves “The People of the Sea”) and from across the sea (the wide diversity of immigrant groups) through music and projected slides. The flow of the songs will take listeners on a personal journey through time, giving a sense of strength through diversity, survival through hardship, and ultimate hope.

The songs of this concert are arranged in sets.

Old American Hymn Set
This set of establishes the immigration theme of water crossing and pilgrimage, to build a future through faith and optimism.

  • HARK I HEAR THE HARPS ETERNAL, Alice Parker
  • PILGRIM SONG, Ryan Murphy

African Set
This set addresses immigration from the African perspective of genocide and slavery, and yet the second song, with African percussion, exudes a joyful, forward-moving drive.

  • HORIZONS, Peter Louis Van Dijk
  • DRY YOUR TEARS, AFRICA, by John WIlliams

Northern European/Celtic Set
These songs show the Northern European perspective, first the separation from the old country, then the headlong embrace of the new.

  • OVER HAVET, Dan Forrest (sung in Norwegian and English, with projected slides of historical
  • Whatcom County immigrant scenes
  • ALL TOO SOON, Stephen Hatfield

– – INTERMISSION – –

Aspirations for Freedom Set

These songs will be sung by the BCC Octet, to be formed from leading voices of each section. The Octet will modernize these songs with movement and improvisation:

  • GUANTANAMERA, arr. Gene Glickman (sung in Spanish)
  • GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, Berlin/RIngwald

‘Longing For What Is Lost’ set
In the concert so far, European, African and Hispanic cultures have been highlighted, as well as the general theme of immigration over water. To complete our celebration of the demographic diversity of Whatcom County, this set include Asian, Native American and Russian points of view.

  • REQUIEM, Eliza Gilkyson   (commemorating the tragic tsunami of 2004 and death at sea)
  • CHILDREN OF THE EARTH, Allen-Schmid  (a setting of Chief Seattle’s classic ode)
  • YONDER, YONDER, Gaines (epic Russian longing for the homeland)

Collaborative set with Sikhs
When Sikh Ragis (liturgical singers) from the Lynden temple performed at the 2017 Bellingham Interfaith choir festival it was the first time they had ever sung for a public, community event.  For the BCC to perform with the Sikhs would be another first.

Two trademarks of the BCC are to explore the limits of choral music and to premiere new works. To that end, interim director Kevin Allen-Schmid hopes to compose a suitable piece for BCC to perform together with the Sikhs, in which they sing their liturgical texts in their traditional, vocally acrobatic style while the BCC melds in SATB choral parts.

  • SIKH CHANT
  • WE’RE NOT STRANGERS, Allen-Schmid

Bernstein set
These Bernstein masterpieces of the stage will show off BCC’s finely tuned harmonies, mellifluous tone quality and extended range, in pieces that beg for a better future.

  • SOMEWHERE, from West Side Story
  • MAKE OUR GARDEN GROW, from Candide
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