We open our 2023-2024 season with Words, an eclectic evening inspired by the power of language. The concert begins at 7:30 pm on Thursday, October 5 in the Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Community Center (913 South I Street, Pensacola). Our 100-voice volunteer chorus will be conducted by artistic director Peter Steenblik with Hyunjoo Kim at the keyboard.

The concert borrows its title from the opening song, a jazzy meditation on language by The Real Group’s Anders Edenroth, who points out that words are “the possession of the beggar and the king…the obsession of the genius and the fool” and that they ”will hold forever humanity spellbound.”

The rest of the program features spellbinding words by such writers as William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Octavio Paz, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and e.e. cummings in settings by some of the most celebrated choral composers working today. They include Emma Lou Diemer, Abbie Betinis, Eric Whitacre, André Thomas, Rosephayne Powell, Rollo Dilworth, and Dan Forrest. The program also features a set of works by three German masters of the past: Ernst Toch, who plays with place names; Ludwig Senfl, who recreates the sound of cathedral bells and the conversations of the bellringers on a Sunday morning in a Bavarian town; and Hans Leo Hassler, who wallows in a little self-pity.

One of Pensacola Opera’s Jan Miller Studio Artists, tenor Zachary Taylor, will perform as guest soloist in the centerpiece of the concert, Joan Szymko’s “From Such a Dizzy Height,” a setting of romantic excerpts from letters and other writings of Bella and Marc Chagall.

Tickets are available through Purplepass, here, or phone Heather at 850-484-1847 (Pensacola State College’s Department of Performing Arts box office).