Sam Guarnaccia’s Emergent Universe

D&R Greenway Offers Unique Bus Excursion to Regional Premier Performance

New Jersey Stage

July 1, 2018

https://www.newjerseystage.com/articles/getarticle.php?titlelink=dandr-greenway-offers-unique-bus-excursion-to-regional-premier-performance-of-sam-guarnaccias-emergent-universe-oratorio-villanova-university

(PRINCETON, NJ) -- D&R Greenway Land Trust invites the public to a unique bus excursion to the regional premier performance of Sam Guarnaccia’s Emergent Universe Oratorio. Performed by the Main Line Symphony Orchestra, with choral singers from Pennsylvania and Vermont, it will take place at Villanova University Church, on Saturday, July 28 at 7:30pm. The bus will depart at 5:30pm from D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, returning by 11:30pm.  Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be provided.

At the post-party after the Villanova performance, participants will meet with composer Sam Guarnaccia and Symphony director Don Liuzzi. Tickets for the bus journey and the Emergent Universe Oratorio are $125.  This includes bus trip, wine, hors d’oeuvres, performance and post-party.  Space is limited; RSVP by Thursday, July 19:  Most convenient payment: www.drgreenway.org, DONATE, and specify BUS TRIP.  On July 28 at 5:30pm, the bus will leave One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, Princeton.  A portion of the fee supports D&R Greenway’s preservation of New Jersey’s segment of the universe.

Sam Guarnaccia’s Emergent Universe Oratorio inspired the dynamic paintings by award-winning environmental artist Cameron (Cami) Davis, currently in D&R Greenway’s galleries:  Cosmophilia may be seen through July 25 in D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton 08540. Gallery hours Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm. Call to be sure galleries not rented at the time of prospective visit.

Our regional premiere of the Emergent Universe Oratorio will be performed in the majestic setting of the Villanova University Church on July 28. D&R Greenway President Linda Mead attended the Ohio premiere in Cleveland, observing, “This oratorio soars, inspired by, and composed to inspire conservation of, the Earth. It is a beautiful melding of music, poetry and philosophies—some familiar, some eye-opening!” Both the artist and the composer drew significant influences from the 2011 Emmy-winning documentary Journey of the Universe, by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Brian Swimme of Yale.

Sam Guarnaccia addresses questions about the impact of stars, tectonic plates, even sea life of hundreds of millions of years ago upon today’s humans. He weaves in words and thoughts of Rainer Maria Rilke, Wendell Berry, John Elder, among others, carrying audiences to the “beginning of time.”  Guarnaccia explains, “The motivation for this oratorio was to add weight and depth to our awareness of what we are doing to the planet.” Cultural historian, geologist and teacher Thomas Berry also impacted Guarnaccia during this composition:  “A new revelatory experience is needed, an experience wherein human consciousness awakens to the grandeur and sacred quality of the Earth process. This awakening is our human participation in the dream of the Earth…”

The oratorio is related to opera in that it features recitatives and music.  It differs from opera in that it contains no performance. This oratorio interacts with the 2011 Emmy-winning documentary Journey of the Universe, by Mary Evelyn Tucker and Brian Swimme, which dramatizes interconnectedness and universal energy from the moment of the Big Bang, forward.

Don Liuzzi, director of the Main Line Symphony Orchestra and principal timpanist with the Philadelphia Orchestra, describes his experience of the oratorio: “The more we talk about [the perils to our planet] this as a society, the less chance we have of ruining this planet.”  “Science links everyone on the planet,” Guarnaccia adds. D&R Greenway’s Linda Mead asserts, “It is the melding of science, music and new thinking that makes this work so inspiring.  This magical, unforgettable evening can transform how you view your place in the world and the actions you yourself need to take for the sake of the planet.”

D&R Greenway Land Trust is in its 29th year of preserving and protecting natural lands, farmlands and open spaces throughout central and southern New Jersey. Through continuous preservation and stewardship -- caring for land and easements to ensure they remain protected and ecologically healthy in perpetuity -- D&R Greenway nurtures a healthier and more diverse environment for people and wild species in seven counties. Accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, D&R Greenway’s mission is to preserve and care for land and inspire a conservation ethic, now and for the future. Since its founding in 1989, D&R Greenway has permanently preserved more than 20,000 acres, an area 20 times the size of New York City’s Central Park, including 30 miles of trails open to the public. The Johnson Education Center, a circa 1900 restored barn at One Preservation Place, Princeton, is D&R Greenway’s home. Through programs, art exhibits and related lectures, D&R Greenway inspires greater public commitment to safeguarding land. 

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