World premiere of “La Providence” during spring concert at The Woods

April 9th, 2012 | SMWC

Sydney Guillaume
Sydney Guillaume

When Michael Boswell, assistant professor of music at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), sang his first piece by Sydney Guillaume, a dynamic rising composer, in 2009, he thought, “This person feels music the way that I do.” At that exact moment, Providence put him on a path to share that feeling with the world.

Now, about three years after that first encounter, SMWC is proud to host the world premiere of “La Providence,” composed by Guillaume, on Saturday, April 28, 2012, at 4 p.m., in the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The piece, generously underwritten by Marijane Jemsek of Matoon, Ill., in memory of her daughter, 1976 Woods alumna Regina Jemsek, is a musical celebration of the comfort and strength of Providence.

“Everyone can appreciate this piece,” Boswell said. “It’s about not worrying when things are out of our control, because perhaps they are part of a plan that we may not understand at the time.”

The College’s elite student choral ensemble, the Madrigals, will perform “La Providence,” which was inspired by the words and wisdom of SMWC’s foundress, Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. “Think about it,” Boswell said, excitement illuminating his face, “we’ll perform this piece for the first time, with Sydney sitting right there, next to Saint Mother Theodore’s shrine. It will all come together in this one special moment.”

“La Providence” is the crown jewel on a day of free, public activities, including a session with Guillaume, a historic tour, a presentation on music therapy and a spring concert with the College’s Chorale and Madrigals.

Michael Boswell and the Madrigals
Boswell and SMWC's Madrigals

“This song kindles the awe of what can be made possible by placing ourselves into the hands of Providence,” said Madrigal member Sherry Bube, a sophomore studying music therapy from Nashville, Ind. “Being able to perform the piece with such dedicated and enthused Woodsies makes it that much more special.”

Originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Guillaume blends his cultural roots with his American upbringing to create a sound unlike anything heard before. The Miami Herald praised his work for its “impressive maturity and striking melodic distinction.” Guillaume, a University of Miami graduate, commissions works for many nationally recognized ensembles including Seraphic Fire, Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Chorus and The Young New Yorkers Chorus. The Grammy award-winning group Chanticleer recently performed his moving piece, “Kalinda.” Using the poetry of his father, Gabriel T. Guillaume, and the journals of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, he composed “La Providence” specifically for women’s voices.

“I think ‘La Providence’ is going to be very popular with women’s choirs around the world,” Boswell said. “It’s very exciting to have it start here at The Woods.”

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