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    Halalisa Singers: To Reach the Golden Door

    Presented by at First Parish Church in Lexington

    January 26, 2013


    Halalisa Singers: To Reach the Golden Door

     The story of America is the story of immigration. For their winter concerts, the 30+ members of the Halalisa Singers sing of the challenges, joys, and sorrows of the immigrant experience.  The world music ensemble’s winter concerts on Jan.  26-27 in Lexington and Stow offer stories in song of refugees, strivers, dreamers, and huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Fear of the unknown, the sadness of leaving, and the joy of finding a new home are all expressed in this music. The program opens with Brian Tate’s arrangement of the traditional Iroquois calling song “Yanaway Heyona,” followed by the rousing American folk hymn “Bound for the Promised Land.” Two pieces of history – Ellis Island and Annie Moore – are fused in Brendan Graham’s gorgeous “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears.” Irving Berlin’s immigration anthem “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” proclaims the glory of America, while “How I Discovered America” offers a more nuanced but just as relevant view of the immigrant experience on US soil. The tongue-in-cheek “Lebn Zol Columbus” (“Long Live Columbus!”) is a Yiddish theater gem, and the film song “Balleilakka” with its driving Tamil rhythms laments the Americanization of Indian culture. The program also features songs from Armenian (“Groogner”), South African (“Tshotsholoza”), Syrian (“Fog Elna Khel”), and Costa Rican (“Un Beso y Una Flor”) traditions.  Contemporary pieces include the serious “Would You Harbor Me?” by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in the Rock, and the elegiac “Hymn for a New Land” by Revels music director George Emlen. The concert closes with a gospel swing arrangement of “America the Beautiful,” the quintessential American song featuring lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates.


    Halalisa Singers’ Artistic Director Mary Neumann conducts the concert, which also features pianist Valerie Ross, percussionist Bertram Lehmann, and violinist Jack McCreless.

    Who: Halalisa Singers with Artistic Director Mary Neumann, pianist Valerie Ross, percussionist Bertram Lehmann, violinist Jack McCreless
    What: "To Reach the Golden Door: Songs of the Immigration Experience"
    When: Saturday, January 26 at 7:30pm & Sunday, January 27 at 3pm
    Where: Saturday concert at First Parish Church in Lexington, 7 Harrington Rd., Lexington Center. Sunday concert at First Parish of Stow & Acton, 353 Great Rd., Stow.
    Tickets: $18, $15 students & seniors
    Info: Tickets & Information at:,  


    First Parish Church in Lexington

    7 Harrington Road
    Lexington, MA 02421

    Full map and directions

    Admission Info:

    $18, $15 students and seniors

    Phone: 781-862-6353

    Accessibility Information: Currently, no accessibility information is available for this event.

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