July 27, 2012

Caritas Chorale performs Nez Perce: Promises

Caritas Chorale Performs ‘Nez Perce: Promises’ on the Nez Perce Reservation

By Jack McNeelIt was a performance unlike any other, with a style and quality of music and subject never before performed on the Nez Perce Reservation and unique in all of Indian country.

A chorus of 56 singers, the Caritas Chorale, came from the Ketchum/Sun Valley area some 435 miles away. They were joined by an orchestra of 32 musicians from Boise, 285 miles away. Together, they performed “Nez Perce: Promises,” in the new Lapwai High School gymnasium on the Nez Perce Reservation. This was a new work, a new program, musically telling the story of the Nez Perce Tribe from before first contact with Lewis and Clark to the present day. It’s fair to say that nothing in the past could compare to the music heard in Lapwai on this day.

The story was written by Diane Josephy Peavey, and was her interpretation of Nez Perce history. It was composed by Davis Alan Earnest, directed by Dick Brown, and narrated by Page Klune.

Peavey had grown up with Nez Perce friends in Wallowa County, Oregon. Her father, Alvin M. Josephy, was the founding chairman of the board of The National Museum of the American Indian. “For me, the Nez Perce have been like an extended family,” she said.
Comment:  For more on related subjects, see Pocahontas Opera Casting Criticized and Stereotypical Black Elk "Film-Opera."

Below:  "Vocalists from Sun Valley and orchestra from Boise join together on the Nez Perce Reservation to present Nez Perce: Promises." (Jack McNeel)

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