The Western Wind Vocal Sextet introduces three new members,
celebrates Christmas and Chanukah with
"Home For The Holidays - from Darkness to Light"
December 8 at Church of St. Luke in the Fields (West Village).

Sunday, December 8, 2019 at 7:00 PM
Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street (between Christopher and Barrow Streets at the intersection of Grove Street, West Village)
Tickets: $35 gen. Adm., $20 students & seniors (at the door only), $50 priority seating.
Patron & sponsor tickets: $100 ($50 deductible), $250 ($200 deductible) and $500 ($450 deductible).
Purchase tickets:, 212-873-2848
Ensemble's website:
Running time: 1:20 including intermission.
Reviewers are invited.

New York, November 1 – The Grammy-nominated Western Wind Vocal Sextet will present "Home For The Holidays - from Darkness to Light" on Sunday, December 8 at 7:00 PM Church of St. Luke in the Fields, 487 Hudson Street, NYC (West Village). The concert celebrates Christmas and Chanukah with a rich assortment of holiday music. It is the first NYC mainstage event for the sextet's "new" ensemble, which includes three new members. Organized by themes such as "The Coming of Light," "Miracles," "Holiday Messages" and "Food & Fun," the program explores the deeper meaning of the stories, rituals and festivities of these two winter holidays.

The program features the world premiere of "And Yet The Light Returns" by Gerald Cohen, Robert Dennis' setting of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Christmas miracle poem "The Ballad of the Harpweaver," and Martha Sullivan’s "Lazarus," a setting of Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus" that is found on the Statue of Liberty. The program also includes Renaissance Hebrew psalm settings by Salamone Rossi; Yiddish, Sephardic and Hebrew Chanukah Songs and Christmas music by César Carrillo, Charles Ives and Francis Poulenc.

The Western Wind singers are sopranos Linda Lee Jones and Elizabeth van Os, countertenor Eric S. Brenner, tenors Todd Frizzell and David Vanderwal and baritone Elijah Blaisdell. They will be joined by Patricia Davis on violin and Will Holshouser on accordion.

Having just celebrated the ensemble's 50th Anniversary, the "New" Western Wind makes its New York City debut with this concert. Half of the sextet is new: Soprano Elizabeth van Os joined the ensemble in October and countertenor Eric S. Brenner and baritone Elijah Blaisdell joined the ensemble in August.

Tickets for the December 8 concert are $50 priority seating, $35 general admission and can be purchased online at $20 student/senior tickets will be sold at the door (based on availability). Patron and sponsor tickets are $100 ($50 tax deductible), $250 ($200 tax deductible) and $500 ($450 tax deductible). For more concert information, please call 212-873-2848 or e-mail:

Western Wind will begin its 51st year in 2020. Since 1969, this Grammy nominated vocal sextet has devoted itself to the special beauty and variety of a cappella music. The New York Times has called them "A kaleidoscopic tapestry of vocal hues." The ensemble’s repertoire reveals its diverse background, from Renaissance motets to Fifties rock’n’roll, medieval carols to Duke Ellington, complex works by avant-garde composers to the simplest folk melodies. Visit them at


Thursday, December 5 at 1:15 pm
"The Yellow Star of Mantua," Music of Salamone Rossi Hebreo (1570–1630)
Chapel of St. Bartholomew’s Church
325 Park Avenue at East 50th Street, NYC
Admission free
Salamone Rossi (1570-1630) was a violinist, singer and composer at the court of Mantua where he was employed by Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga and Duchess Isabella d'Este Gonzaga. At a time when Jews were required to distinguish themselves from the Gentile community by wearing a yellow or orange stripe on their hats, Rossi was exempted from this decree by his employers. Working at the ducal palace by day and returning to the nearby Jewish ghetto he composed violin trio sonatas, madrigals, and settings of Hebrew prayers and psalms. Rossi was the first Jewish composer to set Hebrew texts in the European choral style.

Friday, December 6 at 6:30 pm
Special Shabbat Service followed by Dinner and Lecture/Demonstration
Congregation Ansche Chesed
251 West 100th street, NYC
Service is free. Contact The Western Wind for details about the dinner: 212-873-2848.

In the United States, Western Wind has appeared in many distinguished venues, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, ArtPark, Ordway Theater, the Metropolitan Museum, the Frick Museum, the Jewish Museum, Folger Shakespeare Library, Library of Congress, and Cleveland Museum of Art.

In Europe, the sextet has appeared at the Geneva Opera, performing works it commissioned: "Batéy" by Tania León and Michel Camilo and "De Orishas" by Tania León. The Western Wind has also recorded early and contemporary American vocal music for the German National Radio at Cologne and made several triumphant tours of northern Italy, performing Italian Renaissance as well as American music. The group has appeared with the RAI Orchestra and Chorus of Rome at the Rome Opera and at Venice’s legendary opera house, Teatro La Fenice. In 1985, The Western Wind premiered Cesar Franck’s opera, "Stradella," for La Fenice in an outdoor Venetian setting. At the request of the State Department (USIA), The Western Wind has also performed American and Latin American music throughout East Asia. In March 2012 The Western Wind was invited to inaugurate the first Australian Jewish Choral Festival, performed widely in the Sydney area and created a special program for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

In 2007, The Western Wind won the ASCAP-Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. In addition to their many live performances, The Western Wind appears frequently on radio, television, film and CD. A series of public radio holiday specials by The Western Wind has been broadcast nationwide since 1989 and the group has been televised on The Today Show (NBC). On film, the ensemble sings music by Philip Glass in the movies "Koyaanisqatsi" (Nonesuch Records) and "Candyman."

Public Radio holiday programming includes "Chanukkah in Story & Song," narrated by Leonard Nimoy, "The Birthday of The World: Music and traditions of the High Holy Days, narrated by Leonard Nimoy and "Holiday Light: Singing Angels, Silver Bells," narrated by Roma Downey, which have all become public radio perennials. Award-winning recordings include "I Am the Rose of Sharon: Early American Vocal Music" (Grammy nominee, 1973) and "The Happy Journey" (both Early American Vocal Music), "Christmas in the New World" and "Holiday Light" (Christmas); "Mazal Bueno, A Portrait in Song of the Spanish Jews," narrated by Tovah Feldshuh; "Taste of Eternity, A Musical Shabbat," "The Passover Story," narrated by Theo Bikel; "Blessings and Batéy," featuring music by David Darling, Tania León, and Michel Camilo; "My Funny Valentine" (Pop and Jazz) and "Man in The Moon: music of Robert Dennis." A CD featuring two works written for The Western Wind by Meredith Monk and Eric Salzman was chosen album of the week by WQXR Q2. Western Wind’s latest release is "We Are Still Here – The Holocaust Through Music & Memory." A version of this program, narrated by Danny Burstein and Jessica Hecht, is distributed to public radio stations by Public Radio International.

The Western Wind presents workshops in ensemble singing at Smith College and other venues in Washington, DC and Vermont. The ensemble is in residence at several New York City public high schools, providing intensive instruction in ensemble and solo repertoire as well as interdisciplinary lecture demonstrations. (

Elijah Blaisdell (baritone) performs with ensembles across the country as both a soloist and a chorister. An early and new music specialist, his most recent credits include performing as an Adams Fellow with The Carmel Bach Festival, featured soloist with Grammy-Award winning ensemble The Crossing, "St. Matthew Passion" with Bach Society of St. Louis, "Coffee Cantata" and "Dido and Aeneas" with Madison Bach Musicians. He is a chorister with The Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Grammy-nominated ensemble True Concord, Grammy-winning ensemble Seraphic Fire, and Boston Lyric Opera. Blaisdell holds a Master of Music in vocal performance from New England Conservatory and resides in New York City.

Eric S. Brenner (countertenor) has been hailed for his "penetrating eloquence" (NY Times), "astonishing musicality" (NY Classical Review) and "Mr. Roboto majesty" (Stage Mage). You may recognize him as the angry monk just to Madonna’s right in footage from the 2018 Met Gala. Brenner is countertenor soloist in recent performances and recording of Hannah Lash’s "Requiem" (Naxos) and Du Yun’s Pulitzer Prize winning "Angel’s Bone" (VIA Records). Other engagements include: alto soloist in Vivaldi’s "Introduction & Gloria" at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue; soprano and alto soloist in Handel’s "Messiah" at Avery Fisher (Geffen) and Alice Tully Hall; Bernstein’s "Chichester Psalms" at St. Thomas Church, St. John the Divine, and St. Ignatius Loyola; soprano in collaborative concerts with Les Canards Chantant and the Folger Consort at the National Cathedral; Doodle in "Scarlet Ibis" by Stefan Weisman and David Cote; and Poet in Virko Baley’s "Holodomor" in Ukraine. Brenner is also co-composer with Matt Shloss of music for Rob Reese’s Yahweh’s Follies. He writes fiction and persists in being an incorrigible Mets fan. (

Todd Frizzell (tenor) is a native of Denver Colorado. He has spent the last 25 years performing in San Francisco, Hawaii, and New York City. He has been featured on ABC-TV’s Nightline, singing music from a Mass written in the first millennium which he also performed in Limoges, France in May 2001. He has performed internationally with New York’s Ensemble for Early Music. He serenaded Dame Judi Dench in June 2000 at Broadway’s Ethyl Barrymore Theater. He was the tenor soloist in Handel’s "Israel in Egypt" at Avery Fisher Hall with the National Chorale and soloist at Alice Tully Hall with the National Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with the Choir of St. Luke in the Fields, The New York Virtuoso Singers, Musica Antica at St. Bart’s and the New York Concert Singers and has appeared at the Bard College Festival.

Linda Lee Jones (soprano), a New Orleans native, is active as a soprano, teacher and massage therapist in New York City and Central New Jersey. She has performed with prominent choral groups including Musica Sacra, the New York Choral Artists, St. Ignatius Loyola Church and the Mostly Mozart Festival as well as with some of the world's finest orchestras and conductors. Ms. Jones is a member of the professional Chorale of the Carmel Bach Festival in Carmel, CA and sings regularly with the choir of Trinity Wall Street. As a soloist, she has appeared with the Symphony Chorus of New Orleans, the Louisiana Vocal Arts Chorale, the Masterwork Chorus of NJ and the Argento Chamber Ensemble in New York. Before relocating to New Jersey, she served as Director of Music for Munholland United Methodist Church in New Orleans, where she worked with choristers of all ages. Ms. Jones hold a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Loyola University.

Elizabeth van Os (soprano) is one of New York City’s most dynamic performers, making waves not only as soloist and ensemble member but also as a co-founder of the non-profit Pleiades Project. Opera-zine parterre noted her "striking impression" and Voce di Meche praised her "lovely, affecting" voice and "justifiable passion." Born Elizabeth Smith, she holds performance degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Brigham Young University in Idaho. (

David Vanderwal (tenor) is a native of Portland, Oregon. He has performed as a soloist with The American Bach Soloists, Seattle Baroque Orchestra, Oregon Bach Festival Orchestra, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, New York Collegium and Tafelmusik. Recently Mr. Vanderwal performed in Handel’s "Messiah" with the St. Paul’s Cathedral Choirs of Buffalo, NY, Pax Christi of Toronto, ON, Danbury (CT) Symphony Orchestra, The Mendelssohn Choir (CT) and First Congregational Church of Greenwich, CT. He performed Bach’s "Easter Oratorio" and a new concert, "Mass of John Tavener," with the Choir of St. Thomas Church in New York. Mr. Vanderwal appeared at the Carmel Bach Festival in California and taught at the International Bachakademie’s Stuttgart Festival in Überlingen, Germany. He also presents a set of song recitals throughout the year.

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