Magnificat Holidays

More on our Holiday Lights programming: We will perform “Magnificat in B-flat major,” which, though attributed to his student Pergolesi (not in his own time, but from about 1910 on) was written by Francesco Durante. It is as important a piece of 18th-century Italian sacred music as Vivaldi’s “Gloria” or Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater.”

Set in cantata form, it is masterful in use of polyphonic form as well as introducing pre-classical elements that set it apart from other works of its period. Durante wrote a five-part, as well as a four-part version; the more often used four-part version is what Solaris will present.

The Green Taylor String Quartet accompanies, as well as Dr. Susan Summerfield, playing the organ. Solaris members tenor Matt DeDiana, alto Sarah Gleich, bass Mark Madison, and soprano Linda Wheeler are the soloists.

In canonical terms, Magnificat is “the Canticle (song) of Mary,” Mary’s glorification of God in the miracle of the birth of Jesus.

Solaris Premieres Brand New Work

It sifts from Leaden Sieves – (291)

By Emily Dickinson


It sifts from Leaden Sieves –

It powders all the Wood.

It fills with Alabaster Wool

The Wrinkles of the Road –


It makes an even Face

Of Mountain, and of Plain –

Unbroken Forehead from the East

Unto the East again –


It reaches to the Fence –

It wraps it Rail by Rail

Till it is lost in Fleeces –

It deals Celestial Vail


To Stump, and Stack – and Stem –

A Summer’s empty Room –

Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,

Recordless, but for them –


It Ruffles Wrists of Posts

As Ankles of a Queen –

Then stills its Artisans – like Ghosts –

Denying they have been –


Solaris will be premiering the composition based on this poem, that tenor member David J. Tetreault has written especially for our ensemble! DJ is currently pursuing his MFA in Music Composition at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. We are very pleased to be the ones to sing this piece in its first, but surely not its last, performance! DJ was struck with the wonderful imagery in the poem, and has set it beautifully. We will perform it in our Holiday Lights concerts! (see “Concerts & Events”)


Annual Photo Shoot

Once a year, we do a photo shoot. This year was in September, in Jericho. While there, we visited Pat & Beth O’Connor’s backyard, which just happens to be the home of “Little Fenway,” “Little Wrigley Field,” and “Little Field of Dreams.” The O’Connors built these 1/4 size, exact replicas of the 3 ball fields, and hold whiffle ball tournaments there, which to date have raised $4 million for charity! (click on the images to see larger version)

Loss of a Musical Giant: Robert DeCormier

Robert DeCormier, beloved friend, mentor, teacher, conductor, champion of peace and justice – with whom Dr. Willis and many singers in our ensemble had a special relationship – passed away November 7, 2017.  Dr. Willis served as assistant to him during part of his time with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and almost half of Solaris members had an association with him as singers under his baton in that chorus and other choral projects. His kindness, humanity, passion for music, and love touched each of deeply, and yet we are only a tiny percentage of the hundreds and hundreds of people he has touched through music. His legacy will go on and on through his marvelous arrangements of American music – spirituals, folk songs, carols, original compositions, and other world music. We will honor him again and again through his music for years to come, and know he will be smiling upon us as we do so. Thank you Robert, for so many wonderful musical memories. All of Solaris sends our condolences and love to his family at this sad time.

Thanks for the Invitation!

Dr. Willis and the Solaris singers thank the Greater Burlington Multicultural Resource Center and Patrick Brown, its Director, for having invited us to perform last Saturday, November 4th for “A Night at the Opera.” It was a pleasure to hear the wonderful soloists and to perform for the appreciative audience.