Chorus pro Musica performs world premiere of “Spencer the Rover” on March 12, 8pm, at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge

Chorus pro Musica presents Journeys, featuring the world premiere of Andy Vores’ ‘Spencer the Rover’

Sanders Theatre│March 12, 2016, at 8 p.m.


BOSTON — Chorus pro Musica under the direction of Jamie Kirsch will present Journeys on March 12 at 8 p.m. at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge. The concert will feature the world premiere of “Spencer the Rover,” a CpM commission by Andy Vores.

“Spencer the Rover” is based on an English folk song, and like many folk songs, the origin is unknown. The song is about a man who forsakes his family for a life on the road, only to find out what he longed for most wasn’t lost at all; it was waiting for him back home. Vores’ version is based on the recording by John Martyn, which leaves out two of the verses from the traditional version by the renowned Copper family.

The work is scored for chorus and a hybrid brass band (three cornets, three trombones, four French horns, a euphonium, and a tuba).

“We are thrilled to premiere Andy Vores’s “Spencer the Rover,” a substantial, 30-minute work for chorus and brass band written for Chorus pro Musica. We are grateful to Choral Arts New England for supporting this project through a generous grant, and we can’t wait to share “Spencer” with the world this March, said Kirsch. “Andy has set the traditional folk song richly and beautifully for the chorus; and in between verses he provides an often jarring glimpse inside Spencer’s confused and struggling mind, complete with non-traditional instructions for the performers, including finger tapping, whistling and vocal percussion.”

In the midst of composing the score, Vores’ 87-year-old father passed away after descending deep into dementia. As this happened, the words of Spencer took on a new resonance for him. “I started to think about the actual story: how had he been ‘much reduced;’ what was the ‘great confusion’?” said Vores. “The events began to seem unlikely. Would his family (probably impoverished after his departure) be just waiting for his return and entirely happy to see him? I began to think of his rambling and his roaming as parallel to my father’s gradual withdrawal from the everyday world. Spencer’s return to his family might instead be a vision of his own, not an actual event. So, Spencer became for me about this journey too: it’s a ramble with a different kind of return and arrival.”

The evening will also include: Abbie Betinis, “From Behind the Caravan;” Benjamin Britten, “The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard;” Mendelssohn, Richte mich, Gott, Op. 78. No.2; Arvo Part, “Nunc dimittis;” Guillaume, “Twa Tanbou” (a cappella; Haitian Creole).

Tickets for CpM’s Journeys on March 12, 2016, at 8 p.m. at Sanders Theatre in Cambridge are available at

About Chorus pro Musica

Now performing its 67th season, Chorus pro Musica (CpM), under the direction of Jamie Kirsch, is a Boston-based chorus recognized for innovative programming and superb performances of beloved classics and new works that inspire singers and listeners alike.

The chorus was founded in 1949 by the late Alfred Nash Patterson, one of the most influential forces in choral music in New England, and quickly built a superb reputation for its professional-level musical standards and innovative programming. Over the years, these strengths have led to collaborations with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Philharmonic, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Rhode Island Philharmonic, Craig Smith and Emmanuel Music, and the Boston Academy of Music, as well as various opera companies including Boston Concert Opera, the Opera Company of Boston, and Commonwealth Opera.

The chorus has received two Grammy nominations for recordings made with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on the RCA label. With the Boston Symphony, the chorus performed in several world premieres, including Poulenc’s “Gloria” and Britten’s “War Requiem.” Reflecting its continued commitment to new and rarely heard music, CpM has recently commissioned works from composers including James Kallembach, Stephen Feigenbaum, Peter Child, Abbie Betinis, and Andrew Rindfleisch, and has presented numerous regional premieres, including that of Roger Ames’s “Requiem for Our Time” (subsequently nominated for a Pulitzer Prize) and Guiseppi Verdi’s opera “Attila.”

For more on the history of CpM, read “Not Just another Chorus,” by David Frieze, program notes written for CpM’s 50th anniversary celebration concert.

For more information about CpM, visit

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