NEC Concert Choir: Persistence of the Human Spirit – Through Darkness to Light

The NEC Concert Choir offers a program of choral works from the 16th century to the present that tracks the progression of the human spirit — from the darkness of despair to the re-awakening of hope in the future. This concert was created using a combination of in-person ensemble recording and remote submission.

Choral singing, whether in unison or in parts, is the oldest form of ensemble music-making. It has lived for thousands of years despite human oppression and catastrophe. The pandemic has required us to try our hand at replicating the traditionally intimate experience of choral singing while standing 16 feet apart, masked, and in some cases, separated by thousands of miles. What this pandemic could not change is the passion for choral artistry, and it most certainly was not going to prevent NEC choristers from dedicating themselves to finding a way, despite the challenges, to share their art.

Every human has a voice, whether the use of that instrument flows from their vocal cords or their hands. Every human must be seen and should be heard.

–Erica J. Washburn

Watch Concert Stream:

  • Erica J. Washburn, conductor
  • Joseph Nizich '21 MM, conductor
  • Jennie Segal '21 MM, conductor
  • Da-Yu Liu, piano
  • Luke Camarillo, djembe
  1. AFFLICTION - Johann Walter | Aus tiefer Not schrei' ich zu dir


    Aus tiefer Not schrei' ich zu dir

    Aus tiefer Not schrei’ ich zu dir
    Herr Got, erhoer’ mein Rufen
    Dein grädig’ Ohren kehr zu mir, 

    Und meiner Bitt’ sie öffnen!

    Denn so du willst das sehen an,
    Was Sünd’ und Unrecht ist getan,
    Wer kann, Herr, vor dir bleiben?

    Psalm 130

    From deep affliction I cry out to you

    From deep affliction I cry out to you,
    Lord God, hear my call;
    incline your merciful ear here to me
    and be open to my prayer!

    For if you want to look at this,
    what sin and injustice is done,
    who can, Lord, remain before you?

    • Joseph Nizich '21 MM, conductor
  2. RESIGNATION - Gustav Mahler (arr. Stanley Hoffman) | Ich bin der Welt abhanden kommen


    Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen

    Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen,

    Mit der ich sonste viele Zeit verdorben,
    Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen,
    Sie mag wohl gluben, ich sei gestorben!

    Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen,
    Ob sie mich für gestorben hält.
    Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen, 

    Den wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt.

    Ich bin gestorben dem Welt getümmel
    Und ruh’ in einem stillen Gebiet!
    Ich leb’ allein in meinem Himmel,
    In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied.

    Friedrich Rückert

    I am lost to the world

    I am lost to the world

    With which I used to waste much time;
    It has for so long known nothing of me,
    It may well believe that I am dead.

    Nor am I at all concerned
    If it should think that I am dead.
    Nor can I deny it, 

    For truly I am dead to the world.

    I am dead to the world’s tumult
    And rest in a quiet realm!
    I live alone in my heaven,
    In my love, in my song!

    Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder, published by Faber, provided courtesy of Oxford Lieder,

    • Jennie Segal 21 MM, conductor
    • Da-Yu Liu, piano
  3. SACRIFICE - Adolphus Hailstork | Crucifixion (from Five Short Choral Works)


    My Lord. 
    They crucified my Lord and he never said a mumblin’ word.
    Not a word.
    They nailed him to a tree, and he never said a mumblin’ word.

    Not a word.
    They pierced him in the side, and he never said a mumblin’ word.

    He bowed his head and died, and he never said a mumblin’ word.
    Oh, my Lord, not a word, and he never said a mumblin’ word.


    • Joseph Nizich '21 MM, conductor
  4. PERCEPTION - Robert Schlidt | Perhaps They Are Not Stars

    Based on an Inuit proverb, this reflective piece was originally composed for the Centennial High School Concert Choir from Circle Pines, Minnesota, in memory of my mother, Coralynn, who passed away when I was five years old.     
    – Robert Schlidt


    Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven
    where the love of our lost ones pours through
    and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.

    Inuit Proverb

    • Jennie Segal '21 MM, conductor
  5. TRANSFORMATION - Yu-Wei Hsie (arr. Yu-Shan Tsai) | Fa Shu Ha (Under That Flower Tree)

    The island of Taiwan was originally inhabited by more than a dozen tribes of aboriginal people, many with their own customs and languages.  In the 17th century, Chinese migrant workers – including two different ethnic groups, the Hoklo and the Hakka – began to settle on the island.  Today, the Hoklo account for nearly 70% of the population while only 15% of the residents are Hakka. Mandarin is now the dominant language, and the indigenous non-Mandarin dialects are in danger of disappearing.
               Fa Shu Ha is the old name for a Hakka village remembered by the lyricist, Gu Siou-Ru, as a place bustling with people like the flowers on the Tung flower tree and proud of its traditional blue-dyed garment shops.  Sadly, both the flowering trees and the traditional customs are now gone.  Fa Shu Ha is set in the Hakka dialect.


    Fa Shu Ha, have you not heard of it?
    Fa Shu Ha, full of blossoming flowers.
    If people strolled by, the red and white flowers would float down in front of you,

    on your shoulders and under your feet.

    Fa Shu Ha has a blue-dye garment shop.
    Fa Shu Ha has an elderly master who has crafted blue-dye garments

    and dressed charming girls like the flowers in front of the door,
    I don’t know how many.

    Fa Shu Ha stands under the flowering tree.

    Gu, Siou-Ru

    • Ruoxi Peng '21 BM, soprano
    • Joseph Nizich '21 MM, conductor
  6. ILLUMINATION - Traditional Ecuadorian (arr. Gerardo Guevara) | Apamuy Shungo (Giving of the Heart)

    The text of Apamuy Shungo is in Quichua, one of the indigenous languages spoken in Ecuador.  The piece itself is a Yumbo, one of the fundamental rhythmic styles found in the Andean music of Ecuador.


    Jatun Rupay can apamuy cansay canuy;
    Jatun Rupay cuyaranchi tucuy shungo

    Tarpurranchi allpa, ricu ranchichuri.

    Tayta yucapag, tayta tucupag. 

    Jatun Rupay.

    Gerardo Guevara

    Great Sun, you bring life and heat.
    Great Sun, we worship you with all our heart.

    We will cultivate the land and care for your children.

    My Father, Father of all.

    Great Sun.

    • Luke Camarillo, djembe
    • Jennie Segal '21 MM, conductor
  7. ASPIRATION - Christopher Tin | Sogno di Volare (Dream of Flight), theme from the video game Civilization VI


    Sogno di volare

    Una volta che avrai
    Spiccato il volo, desiderai
    Sguardo verso il ciel saprai:
    Lì a casa il cuore sentirai.

    Prenderà il primo volo verso il sole il grande uccello
    Sorvolando il grande Monte Ceceri

    Riempendo l’universo di stupor e gloria.

    Una volta che avrai…

    L’uomo verrà portato dalla sua creazione
    Come gli uccelli, verso il cielo…
    Riempendo l’universo di stupor e gloria.

    Una volta che avrai…

    Adapted from the writings of
    Leonardo da Vinci by Chiara Cortez

    Dream of flight 

    Once you have taken flight,
    You’ll decide
    Gaze towards the sky, you’ll know that
    That is where your heart will feel at home.

    The first great bird will take flight towards the sun,
    Sweeping over the great Mt. Ceceri,
    Filling the universe with wonder and glory.

    Once you have taken flight…

    Man will be lifted by his own creation,
    Just like the birds, towards the sky,
    Filling the universe with wonder and glory.

    Once you have taken flight…


    Chamber Ensemble

    Flute: Elizabeth Kleiber
    Oboe: Coleton Morgan
    Clarinet: Theodore Robinson
    Bassoon: Julien Rollins
    Contrabassoon: Evan Judson
    French horn: Jenna Stokes, Tess Reagan
    Trumpet: Sarah Heimberg
    Trombone: Elias Canales
    Tuba: James Curto

    Timpani: Rohan Zakharia
    Percussion: Mark Larrivee
    Piano: Erica Washburn
    Harp: Jessica Ding
    Violin: Natalie Boberg, Jiyoung Lee
    Viola: Ayano Nakamura
    Cello: Jasmine Park
    Bass: Diego Martinez

    Concert Choir

    Hanna Bao
    Marina Beeson
    Jádon Brooks
    Lila Brucia
    Brittany Bryant
    Kaitlin Burton
    Hongbo Cai
    Chen Chen
    Linxi Chen
    Pin-Chieh Jewel Chen
    Sophia Daisy Chesler
    Lily Chien
    Lina Chung
    Su Cong
    Josaphat Contreras
    Minoo Dixon
    Sophia Grace Donelan
    Colleen Ernandes
    Runyu Feng
    Edward Ferran
    Marissa Fieland

    Jonathon Fornoff
    Rae Fredette
    Shengying Gu
    David Helder
    Maxwell Herman
    Jack Keller

    Song Hyeon Kim
    Wanjoong Kim
    Hexue Li
    Mengyuan Li
    Pengyi Li
    Sunwei Li
    Yuhang Li
    Yunqi Li
    Bairun Liu
    Mingyang Ma
    Jonas Man
    Sally Millar
    Tristan Murphy
    Nan Ni

    Joseph Nizich
    Ruoxi Peng
    Pauline Pu
    Linyue Qiu
    Alexander Romanov
    Rafe Schaberg

    Jennie Segal
    Hanwen Shi
    Emma Strange
    Cobi Tadros

    Alexander Tsereteli
    Ranfei Wang
    TanNi Wang

    Yinuo Wang
    Xiaoye Wei
    Hongjian Yan
    Grace Yu
    Beyoncé Zambrano
    Zhiqiao Zhang
    Vincent Zheng
    ZhuoYa Zhu

  8. We are deeply grateful again this semester to

    Bob Winters and the Concert Halls staff,
    Ashton Bush of the Performance Library,
    the Tech Central staff,
    Lisa Nigris and the Recording and Performance Technology Services staff,

    and videographers Andrew Hurlbut and Dave Apostolides.