Composer Noah Michael Smith, left, and Camaraderie Cellars winemaker Don Corson admire “Spirit of Hildegard,” Corson’s sculpture in jade. Smith and Corson have collaborated on a performance celebrating Hildegard von Bingen this Saturday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Composer Noah Michael Smith, left, and Camaraderie Cellars winemaker Don Corson admire “Spirit of Hildegard,” Corson’s sculpture in jade. Smith and Corson have collaborated on a performance celebrating Hildegard von Bingen this Saturday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/for Peninsula Daily News)

Saturday performance blends music, poetry

By Diane Urbani de la Paz

PORT ANGELES — This being the Season of Creation, two Port Angeles residents are planning a get-together on Saturday evening.

“Viriditas: A Celebration of Hildegard von Bingen” blends original music by local composer Noah Michael Smith, poetry by Don Corson and the “sound of greening” gleaned from living plants.

The performance is free at 7 p.m. Saturday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 301 E. Lopez Ave., and the public is invited, said Corson, who’s wanted to have this celebration for a long time now.

He and Smith are enchanted by Hildegard, a German Benedictine abbess, writer, philosopher, composer and mystic who lived during the High Middle Ages. Smith and Corson are also reveling in the Season of Creation, an international event marking autumn and celebrating human connection to all of life on Earth.

Corson, 74, is winemaker at the 30-year-old Camaraderie Cellars in Port Angeles. Smith, 30, is a queer artist and performer who conducts the peninsula queer xhoir. They moved to Port Angeles from New Haven, Conn., a year and a half ago when they were selected as Holy Trinity Lutheran Church’s director for music ministry.

They might be seen as an unusual pairing, Corson said. Their interest in Hildegard, however, and a love of music and life made this weekend’s performance possible.

The whole process leading up to Saturday evening has been “joy-giving,” Smith said.

“Noah has claimed (their) chops on this,” Corson added.

Collaborating with them are a vocal ensemble called Hildegard’s Own Singers: sopranos MarySue French, Elizabeth Christian, Kelly Sanderbeck, Sally Adams, Judy Moilanen, Valerie Lape and Mallory Jacobs, and altos Margaret Ruud, Lucy Norwell, Vicki Helwick, Vicki Corson and Bonnie Christianson.

Pianist Mark Johnson and hand bell ringers Sunny Chornomaz and Julianna Getzin also will appear. Joy Lingerfelt, the retired musical director at Holy Trinity and the director of the Northwest Women’s Chorale, gave steadfast support to the whole effort, Smith said.

Plants, like those proliferating around Camaraderie Cellars, also have a role to play.

“I attached electrodes [to green leaves] and got biodata,” Smith said. This was mixed into the rest of the music in the composition to be heard Saturday.

The hour-long performance will have an evening vespers-like feeling, Corson said. It’s all about marking autumnal birth, just three days before the fall equinox. This date is also Hildegard’s saint’s day, both the day she was born in 1098 and the day she died in 1178.

Corson hopes Hildegard would find the evening’s music and poetry pleasing. They celebrate “all the things she loved, cared for and shared,” he writes in the program.

“I’m an old white guy,” Corson said. Yet he wishes for “an intergenerational collaboration that is peacemaking, loving, and taking each other’s gifts, if I have any, to make something that becomes more than what I or Noah could have thought of by ourselves.”

________

Diane Urbani de la Paz is a freelance writer and photographer living in Port Townsend.

More in Entertainment

Preparing to celebrate Girls’ Night Out in downtown Port Townsend on Thursday afternoon are, from left, Holly Erickson, Lorilee Houston, Eryn Smith, Sue Arthur and Mari Mullen. After a hiatus, the Main Street Program-hosted annual event returned to distribute goodie bags, encourage women to shop local and raise funds for the Jefferson Healthcare Foundation. The foundation helps provide free breast/cervical cancer screenings for women in need. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/For Peninsula Daily News)
Shopping locally

Preparing to celebrate Girls’ Night Out in downtown Port Townsend on Thursday… Continue reading

Benefit set for Discovery Bay Wild Bird Rescue

Wings, Wine Art to feature rehabilitated birds

Three-day CrabFest opens today

The 21st Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival opens today… Continue reading

Anniversary celebration, music, art, lectures set for this weekend

Activities are planned throughout the North Olympic Peninsula this weekend. • Anniversary… Continue reading

Second Saturday Art Walk showcases photographs, carvings, paintings

Second Saturday Art Walk will highlight Port Angeles artists.… Continue reading

First Friday lecture set

Amanda Monthei will present “Wildland Firefighting” at 7 p.m.… Continue reading

Fiber featured on First Friday Art Walk

Fiber arts will be highlighted during the First Friday Art… Continue reading

Port Townsend Main Street Program Promotion Committee members Sue Arthur, left, and Jennifer Wake help make 500 goodie bags filled with donations from local merchants and sponsors to be sold at Thursday’s Girls’ Night Out headquarters at Vintage by Port Townsend Vineyards, 725 Water St., starting at 11 a.m. Proceeds from the goodie bag sales support the nonprofit Main Street Program and the Jefferson Healthcare Foundation’s fund to help people in need receive breast and cervical cancer screenings and other services. The event will feature a day and night of shopping at 38 businesses with many open later than usual. The theme is the 1960s “You Go Go Girl!” The wrap party will be at 6 p.m. at Vintage by Port Townsend Vineyards. For more, see ptmainstreet.org.
Girls’ Night Out

Port Townsend Main Street Program Promotion Committee members Sue Arthur, left, and… Continue reading

The 21st Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival opens Friday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
CrabFest offers good eats beginning Friday

Tribes contribute to food at weekend festival

Most Read