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Before Body Meets Earth

Sunday, April 24th 2022 @ 2pm

St. Thomas Episcopal Church
301 Saint Thomas Road
Lancaster, PA 17601

featuring works by

Margaret Bonds, Maria Thompson Corley, Melissa Dunphy,

Anne LeBaron, Michael Lewis, Carl Loewe, 

Robert Owens, Francis Poulenc, Richard Strauss, & others

Before Body Meets Earth blends the formal classical recital with theatrical storytelling to explore individual value as seen through the experiences of two characters, Chelsea Fingal DeSouza and Dicky Dutton, as they begin couple's therapy with their new therapist portrayed in this iteration by pianist and composer, Maria Thompson Corley. Through a mix of contemporary and older song repertoire (Margaret Bonds, Judith Cloud, Maria Thompson Corley, Melissa Dunphy, Anne LeBaron, Michael Lewis, Carl Loewe, Gilda Lyons, Undine S. Moore, Robert Owens, Francis Poulenc, Richard Strauss, & Samuel Coleridge Taylor), this recital embodies two people’s struggle to connect and their search for the empathy needed to do so. Music and poetry spanning over 2600 years (Sappho - Dicky Dutton) highlights humanity's vital connections and affirms our innate value in AND outside of our contributions as living creators. We are alive BEFORE BODY MEETS EARTH!


The concept for this performance was born out of an observation that, despite an abundance of modern-day works and productions being continuously created, the expectation to prioritize traditional repertoire continues to be heralded over their contemporary mates. We recognize the wealth and breadth of works available to classical artists including hundreds of years of poetry, music, beliefs, and experiences which reveal vital connections and congruences to modern-day art.


Of the 25 composers and poets included in this program, ten are living and seven have lived within the past 100 years. That generations of music, perspectives, and ideas can come together to serve our singular intention of value is no mistake. Our project reveals one of classical music’s greatest strengths: human experience is timeless. The way we express this universality may transform, but the truth of humanity remains consistent. Before Body Meets Earth expresses this truth two-fold: through the way we exercise empathy with those in our lives, and in the way we value the works of artists throughout time, place, and experience.


We derive strength in our project from the wealth of perspectives, styles, and forms of expression lent to us by the body of chosen composers, poets, and collaborators that comprise this work!

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