The Crossing to perform ‘You Are Who I Love’

by Michael Caruso
Posted 3/7/24

Donald Nally will lead The Crossing in a performance of Harold Meltzer’s “You Are Who I Love,” set to Aracelis Girmay’s poetry, on Sunday, March 17.

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The Crossing to perform ‘You Are Who I Love’


Donald Nally will lead The Crossing in a performance of Harold Meltzer’s “You Are Who I Love,” set to Aracelis Girmay’s poetry, on Sunday, March 17, at 5 p.m. at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. The program also includes works by Sarah Rimkus and Eriks Esenvalds.

Nally, the choir’s founder and artistic director, has followed a multi-year path that now has brought him to live in East Germantown. The choir’s office is located at Chestnut Hill church, where the ensemble regularly performs. After working several years in Philadelphia as the choral director of Opera Philadelphia, Nally also conducted in Wales, United Kingdom, and then taught at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

He and his partner found a house in Germantown that was built in the 1920s. “We love it,” he explained during a conversation at the church. “The original owners basically gutted everything. But it’s got a backyard and it’s only ten minutes away from the church.”

Nally and The Crossing came to Chestnut Hill Presbyterian after his tenure as music director at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Center City. “There were about 20 singers from St. Mark’s who worked with me almost everywhere I conducted. When I moved from there, after several concerts at St. Mark’s, Rev. Cindy Jarvis (then-pastor at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian) and Mark Anderson (its music director) invited us here and offered us a home. We wouldn’t be who we are today as a choir if it hadn’t been for their generosity. They believed in what we do and provided us with a place to do it.”

That “who we are and what we do” has turned out to be the most successful choral ensemble promoting and performing new choral music in America, as several Grammy Awards and nominations attest. The Crossing has commissioned nearly 200 new scores.

The process of doing so includes Nally listening to the works of many young and aspiring composers, talking with them and finally deciding on projects that will work both for the choir and the composer.

“They know our sound,” he said, “and we work with them to create music that tells a story in a language that works both for us and for them.”

Finding that musical language is harder than it used to be because the definition of “classical music” has grown to include within its span and scope many of the popular musical idioms that music lovers hear every day of their lives. Nally said simply that he often depends upon his instincts when it comes to choosing new music for The Crossing to perform.

“I know when I hear music conveying meaning it gets me excited. It may seem complex on the page, but then be simple in performance. Or it may look simple on the page, but convey complex feelings. But I know when I’m drawn to it. With ‘You Are Who I Love,’ Harold (Meltzer, the composer) poured everything into the score.”

 For more information about “You Are Everything I Love” and The Crossing, visit

Orion Quartet Farewell Recital

The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society presented the Orion String Quartet in its final recital for the organization, as the ensemble prepares to retire after 36 years of acclaimed performances. 

The program featured Schubert’s String Quartet in G major, D. 887, and Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat major, Opus 130, including the “Grosse Fuge,” Opus 133, its original final movement. The slow movement of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 16 was the sole encore for an audience that packed the American Philosophical Society’s Benjamin Franklin Hall in Old City Philadelphia.

Violinists Daniel and Todd Phillips, violist Steven Tenenbom and cellist Timothy Eddy produced a tightly focused ensemble tone that was a tad too edgy to my ears in the Schubert but that fit Beethoven’s craggy late masterpiece to a tee. They caught the score’s almost violent developmental counterpoint with intense conviction and projected it to their audience with raw emotion that rose to impassioned soul-searching. Even the normally impenetrable dissonances of the “Grosse Fuge,” originally discarded due to its extensive length, made perfect sense in the Orion’s hands. And the Mozart was a crystalline balm with which to say “fare thee well.”

Organ Recital at Good Shepherd

Organist Robert McCormick will present a solo organ recital on Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m. in the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, 116 Lancaster Ave. in Rosemont. McCormick, currently the organist and music director at Good Shepherd, held the same position at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for ten years.

McCormick’s program will feature “Prelude and Toccata on Kingsfold” by Mary Beth Bennett, “Cantiliene improvise” by Charles Tournemire, “Chorale in E” by Cesar Franck, “Fantasia on Wondrous Love” by David Hurd, “I Love The My Lord/There Is a Happy Land” by George Shearing, “Prelude & Fugue on the Name d’ALAIN” by Maurice Durufle, and improvisations on submitted themes.

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