LOTUS Project Trenton concerts aim to fill pandemic silence | Downtown Trenton

Artist Tamara Torres – pictured here with her painting “Silent Enough to Hear Fragments of Your Soul” – lent her creative eye to the first presentation of the LOTUS project.

“Stay courageous, fearless, strong, led, supportive, sympathetic, resilient, patient, tolerant and kept my sense of humor!” responded an anonymous person to an online invitation offered by Project LOTUS, a Trenton-based organization that debuts Saturday, Jan. 22 at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral at 205 West State Street.

The event will also preview new sound work incorporating the above line and over 30 more by people who followed the thread online that said “2020 has been a ‘silent’ year for many. What’s your story? Complete the following sentence and take part in our first concert! ‘During The Silence, I. . . ‘”

In addition to the opening statement, other responses filling the blank space included: “I got along”, “I saw the hurt that eventually shaped me” and “Struggled to meet my needs. family, but I discovered a new passion for creativity that delivered me from darkness.

“During COVID, we experienced something once in our lifetime,” says Alicia Brozovich, a professional musician trained at Westminster Choir College and artistic director of the LOTUS project. “We have to recognize it. “

Brozovich says the non-profit group was founded in November 2020, when she and a number of her colleagues were out of work and looking to the future.

“It might be crazy,” she said of founding a new organization while others were challenged and closed, “but we thought the pandemic was one way of looking ahead. Future We are an intentional organization Our mission is to create immersive musical experiences in which we can meet the world with new eyes and a renewed sense of wonder.

The Trenton resident and administrator of the Trenton Children’s Chorus says the name is also intentional and indicates the lotus flower’s journey through darkness and mud to the surface of a body of water, where it dies to start over.

“It has deep personal meaning,” she says. “It’s the human experience. We are challenged, grow up, then back down. We cannot grow without challenge. And the art reflects that experience.

The decision to spell the group’s name in capital letters is based on the idea of ​​inclusion and community growth. “We want to organize concert experiences that interact with the audience where it is part of the experience,” she says.

The approach is outlined in the group’s mission statement which calls for “immersive concerts” in non-traditional performance venues, uses compelling stories about shared human experiences, highlights “historically excluded voices” and ” engages in partnerships with the local community.

While the language of the organization’s vision was inspired in part by an approach from the New York Theater Ensemble, Brozovich says the spark for the organization was Trenton’s experience and highlights the occasion where she and d other Westminster-educated LOTUS founders participated in the ‘Production Anthracite Fields’ in Trenton in 2017.

Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary American composer Julia Wolfe’s oratorio based on lyrics by Pennsylvania coal miners was produced by Westminster Choir College in the Roebling Wire Works building.

“There are a number of people from Westminster,” she said of the core of the group. “(But) we’ve put people who appreciate what Trenton is first. They must love Trenton, the people who live and work in Trenton.

“We’re not here to fix Trenton. We’re here to join an art scene and help bring it to life, ”she says, noting that for the first presentation, they will be working with the James Halsey Foundation’s Young Filmmakers Project and hiring visual artist Trenton Tamara. Torres.

Brozovich may have taken root in Trenton, but she grew up in Conway Springs, Kansas, 30 miles south of Wichita.

In a 2019 interview with US Newspaper 1, music writer and WWFM radio host Ross Amico said Brozovich’s “passion for music brought her to Westminster Choir College to pursue a Masters in Choral Conducting in 2013 . After graduating, she joined the faculty of Westminster Conservatory. “

He notes that Brozovich was a Westminster conductor who conducted Midwestern choirs in Florence, Italy and Oxford, and participated in collaborations with the Juilliard Orchestra, Juilliard415 and members of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra.

She is also deputy conductor of the Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra of New York and conducts the adult choir at St. James Catholic Church in Pennington.

As a soprano, she performs regularly with the Philadelphia Symphony Chorus and has performed with the Westminster Choir at Carnegie Hall and has participated in musical events at the Boston Early Music Festival, the Spoleto Festival in South Carolina, and the World Symposium on Choral Music in Spain.

Her husband, Colton Martin, is a pianist and organist and full-time director of sacred music at the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Dominic in The Brick. The couple got married after completing the graduate program together at Westminster.

They live in the Hiltonia section of Trenton with their three year old son.

“It’s still a work in progress,” Brozovich said of the upcoming concert. “We are trying to do more than stand up and sing.”

Referring to the uncertainty of creating production and abstraction in the mission statement, Brozovich says, “It’s vague because we don’t want to limit ourselves. We need time to figure things out.

This includes the combination of Trenton’s self-generated sound work on January 22 with an American premiere by contemporary English composer Paul-Dominic de Grande and other works.

Brozovich stumbled across De Grande’s “Let Me Up Out Here” on YouTube and felt it reflected the vibe of LOTUS ‘early days.

Although the 12-minute piece has little text and uses German and Latin texts, Brozovich says she was drawn to the phrase which expressed the unifying feeling of “a baptism” and the sound of the work which suggested the movement of water.

Brozovich says she contacted the composer, who although known for concert and church music was cited by the English newspaper The Observer as “a talented composer sure to inherit the mantle of best sheet music composer at the British television “.

De Grande says that the work “was the result of the combination of different sections of previous compositions, namely: a mass, an artistic project, a piano-solo and a piano-quintet. This is what I call a ‘Frankenstein piece’, a process around which new compositional bridges can spring up and sometimes become sections in their own right. By the way, by removing and reworking one of those sections, I developed a new pop song, so this process isn’t necessarily just an addition. I have a soft spot for this piece because it is several versions of myself in one, and they all seem to get along.

“As for the instrumentation, I am a great admirer of the saxophonist: Branford Marsalis, and I wanted to have something of the shimmering richness of his sound in the piece. The oboe always seems to have one foot in the past and evokes for me a feeling of timelessness. The harp sounds like a liberated and romantic piano, and its soft and sometimes invigorating reverberation was an ideal candidate to form the basis of the piece. Finally, the sound of the voice is the most wonderful sound in the world, for me it is the height of the synthesis of communication and mystery.

Thrilled to have an American premiere of the work, the composer said in a recent email that “music has brought me through this strange year, that it can travel so far and so quickly across the world. is so wonderful “.

“The best way to describe the concert is that it’s a conceptual concert,” says Brozovich, who adds that since the band “believes that art is for everyone, our ticket model is to pay what you want “.

Still, she says, the group suggests a donation of $ 25, the price of a normal concert ticket, for those who can afford it, and notes that LOTUS has raised its targeted $ 20,000 in a Go Fund Me campaign. .

“It’s a model that makes sense for the city and supports the idea that we are trying to live together,” she says.

Out of Silence, Trinity Cathedral, 205 West State Street, Trenton. Saturday, January 22, 7 p.m. Free (donation of $ 25 requested).

LOTUS ‘second performance, “Rach’ All Night ‘,” featuring “All Night Vigil” by 20th century Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff, is scheduled for Sunday February 27 at 3:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Assumption Church (Byzantine), 333 Adeline Street, Trenton. www.thelotusprojectnj.org

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