Comments from Richard Hynson, the conductor of the Bel Canto Choir, and members of the Choir on the performance of Prayers for Mankind

“…Did you notice how still and attentive the audience was? It was a long and challenging listen for them, but they, too, stayed focused and engaged as the prayers unfolded. Stacey Naffah’s eight-year-old son Jack told me that the concert “…felt like it lasted only one second…” he was so involved in the music. Time compressed for me as well. Did it FEEL like 75+ minutes of performing to you?”

“Different elements of the text leapt out to both singers and listeners, but this extended love song to God touched and moved our audience. You brought Alexander Men’s words and Alexander Levine’s music to heroic life. And perhaps that is why the performance was so gripping. Heroism isn’t about absence of fear; it is about rising above your fear to face what life has presented to you.”
Kathleen  Hughes,  the singer,
I could share so many spiritual and musical moments from not only the performance, but the entire rehearsal cycle, but I will share this one:   You have undoubtedly heard the famous quote from St. Augustine “He who sings prays twice”.  What this piece taught me was that this is much truer for the singer than for the person who listens to the singer.  When we first began to rehearse mvt. 3,  (“Prayer of Humility”) the profundity and utter unreachable spirituality of these petitions overwhelmed me.  Then a strange thing happened: the more we rehearsed the movement, I began to (at least while I was singing) approach an attitude of being willing to pray first one, then another, of the various petitions.  By the time of the performance, I felt completely differently about this litany than I had at the start — and it came about through singing it.  I’m still thinking about the implications of this.  And this was only one of very many spiritual effects of this wonderful work.   Thanks you for challenging us to learn it, and for helping us to approach doing it justice.