Songs for Seasons

Conspirare soloists Stefanie Moore, Laura Mercado-Wright, Dann Coakwell and Simon Barrad perform songs evocative of late spring and early summer and then come together as a quartet with pianist Austin Haller in the world premiere of Kile Smith’s April Showers, commissioned by Conspirare.  For April Showers, Smith composed brand-new music to popular songs from after the Spanish Flu epidemic and World War, telling of loss, loneliness, dreams, love, and hope, and Smith says, “they speak just as strongly now—in our physical and emotional separations—as they did then.” Robert Harlan and John Stinson, who produced Conspirare Christmas 2020, return to bring this music to your screen. 

Program

Where’er You Walk (from Semele)George Frideric Handel
I Wish It SoMarc Blitzstein
Laurie’s Aria (The Tender Land)  Aaron Copland
Sure on this Shining NightSamuel Barber
April Showers world premiere Kile Smith
     That Old Gang of Mine
     All Alone
     The Prisoner’s Song
     Tea For Two
     April Showers

Each performance will be followed by a live post-concert conversation with Craig Hella Johnson, Kile Smith, and the artists.

Preview Songs for Seasons with performances by Stefanie Moore, Laura Mercado-Wright, Dann Coakwell and Simon Barrad, music of Kile Smith, and recordings of other music on the Songs for Seasons program.

Conspirare asked Kile Smith to share more about April Showers, a new work for vocal quartet that will be premiere on June 11 & 13 in Songs for Seasons, Conspirare’s season finale.  Kile Smith used the lyrics from five songs dating from from 1921 to 1924 with themes of solitude, loss, love, dreams, and hope and composed new music for April Showers. Find the conversation by clicking on the button above.

Tips for the best viewing experience

Please click the link below that applies to you to get tips for the best viewing experience. Our Ambassador team will be available in the chat during the concert to answer questions or help as needed.

Meet our Featured Ambassador

Julie Nielson

I find a great deal of joy in being a Conspirare Ambassador! Being connected to this musical community has helped me settle into Austin, having moved here in the fall of 2019. I had been traveling here for work over the years and finally decided to make this city my home. Conspirare has been an excellent way to experience the city and various concert venues, and a great way to meet fellow musicians.

My aunt is a devoted supporter and introduced me to the group. The first concert we attended together was at Christmastime 2019. As so many others have said before me, I was immediately hooked. The magic of the ensemble was mesmerizing, as they are every time. My aunt introduced me to Craig and several others, and the genuine kindness from all made me want to be more involved. They are collectively a devoted bunch, and to be able to serve as Ambassador is a true pleasure.

I am a fellow St. Olaf graduate with degrees in music and math. I’ve had several conversations with Oles all over the country in my role as Ambassador, and it’s fun to reminisce about college. I taught choir in high school for several years before entering the business world, opting to keep music as my hobby which makes it more thoroughly enjoyable for me. Today I sing in my church choir and fully appreciate the sense of purpose that being an Ambassador has fostered.

To learn more about our Ambassador program, click here!

Donor Spotlight

Andrea Pobanz

“Ever since I came out of the womb, I’ve connected with music,” says Andrea Pobanz. As a member of the Hella Circle, Andrea is “playing” forward her lifelong love of music. Hella Circle is a community of Conspirare supporters who commit to giving monthly because they believe in the transformative power of music. Monthly giving is a sustaining source of revenue, keeping Conspirare’s song strong.

Growing up in rural New Mexico, Andrea recalls on Sunday mornings her parents put on their old records and turned it up! The Rolling Stones, the Bee Gees, and the Mamas and the Papas—favorites of her parents’ generation.

Andrea’s mother played piano and at a young age, Andrea begged to learn. “I’d pick out songs from the radio, like Hank Williams—what my dad listened to.” Her mother taught her to read music and in school, she joined the choir.

Andrea thought she’d become an English teacher, enjoying music on the side. “But my high school choir director inspired me to take another path,” Andrea recalls. She studied piano and organ performance in college and continued on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in choral conducting.

Not long after Andrea moved to Austin in 2008 she auditioned for Conspirare’s Symphonic Choir. “Conspirare is like a family to me,” Andrea says.

Andrea is proud to be a member of the Hella Circle, Conspirare’s monthly giving group. “I know that music doesn’t just ‘happen.’ I want to give back what I receive as a performer and audience member,” Andrea says. “I know any amount I give will be used to benefit Conspirare audiences, technical staff that makes us look and sound great, and everyone else who keeps Conspirare’s song going.”

Andrea works as music director at St. Austin Catholic Church. During COVID-19 restrictions, she feels the sense of loss of not having a choir experience—both as a conductor and as a performer.

“The last time my choir of 30 volunteers sang together was March 17th,” Andrea recalls wistfully. Yet, she makes sure the group gets together regularly via Zoom to check-in, enjoy warm friendships and even play ‘name that tune.’” She hopes to start directing a quartet soon through Google Classroom.

It’s been five months since she’s been together with her Conspirare choir too. “Yet, I don’t feel disconnected from Conspirare,” she says. Through Zoom meetings and Facebook, she keeps in touch with friends. “It’s different, of course,” she says, “but it’s still close.” When Facebook provides “memories” of past performances like the Bernstein MASS or Carmina Burana, Andrea and her friends shout out: “Miss my alto sisters!” and “Can’t wait to sing together again!”

Andrea remains hopeful. On Sundays, she plays the organ at the church—with parishioners joining virtually or in-person with limited distanced seating. She often practices the piano at home—but only as long as her dog Dolly can stand it. When Dolly, a Shih Tzu, gets out her squeaky toy, practice is over.

True to her roots, Andrea enjoys a wide variety of music that inspires and sustains her. One of the Spotify playlists she returns to again and again is the one Conspirare choir members created of songs that are nourishing them now.

Andrea’s Favorite Spotify Playlists:

COVID19

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This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, Texas Commission on the Arts and National Endowment for the Arts. 

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