Stabat Mater

Less than a week away from the performance, I am finding the true heart and soul of Stabat Mater. Consequently, I am also getting a glimpse of the heart and soul of Antonín Dvořák.. And Mary, mother of Jesus

Singing with the Abendmusik Chorus - and with Doane Choir as a senior in college - has always been challenging and rewarding. It’s hard work and I highly recommend it. There’s just something about singing with 30+ other people that teaches me to be aware of my surroundings, makes me want to succeed and follow instruction, yet flourish in my own way. A crowd of people learning the same work of art so well that we can reproduce it, and reproduce it well, is a feat that always amazes me.

I have had the great privilege of singing with the Abendmusik Chorus at First Plymouth Church since last fall. Our director, Tom Trenney, has led us through a trying and growing journey to learn Stabat Mater. His insight, experience and teaching ability have transformed us. We walked into rehearsal in February as individuals, each with our own problems, our own egos and, admittedly, varying degrees of familiarity with the piece. When we walk up to the front of First Plymouth on Sunday, we will be one body brought together by one woman, whose heart broke for her dying son, the Lord, who paved our way to paradise.

The first phrase of Stabat Mater translates, “The grieving Mother stood beside the cross, weeping, while on it hung her son.” Even to those of us who don’t speak fluent Latin, the feelings of Mary are made clear in that moment by Dvořák’s emotive composing and our director’s thoughtful instruction. The first movement sweeps you up and carries you through the movements, the emotions, the prayers of Mary. But it ends with glorious hope. “When my body perishes, grant that my soul be given the glory of paradise. Amen.”

The Abendmusik Chorus will join with Doane Choir, the Wesleyan University Chorus and the Abendmusik Orchestra for this performance of Stabat Mater. I’ll be the one wearing a choir robe.


Stabat Mater (“Mother Mary at the Cross”) by Antonín Dvořák

4pm | Sunday April 6

First-Plymouth Congregational Church

20th & D Street

Tickets: $20 Adults | $18 Seniors | $10 Students