Embark on a musical trek from bustling Mediterranean ports and resplendent Balkan capitals to communities shattered in the second world war and all but forgotten. Follow stories of orphan poets, vagabond queens and sailors lost to the sea, all set to spellbinding arrangements worthy of symphonic film scores. Wrap these tales up with lush choral harmonies and soulful vocals evoking Flamenco’s gutsiness set to heart-pounding percussion and intricate soundscapes.
Journey through the Balkans to the Mid-East beginning in Sarajevo and winding through war-torn Salonica. Three Sides to Every Story is a sonic adventure masterfully brought to life by the Guy Mendilow Ensemble, the world class quintet from the Middle East, South and North America and the Philadelphia Girls’ Choir, quickly establishing itself as one of the foremost American girls’ choirs for the purity and warmth of its sound. In a richly textured experience of haunting beauty, audiences are challenged with ironies and contradictions. What does it mean to encounter kindness and defiant hope — in Terrezin? To play children's games between the air raids in the occupied Czech Republic? To travel through postcard-perfect landscapes while ghosts of nightmare pasts can still just barely be seen? In a semi-theatrical performance ranging from epic to irreverent, stories and songs in Ladino and English weave seamlessly to stir vignettes of struggle, courage in dark hours, and, ultimately, riotous celebration, reminding us that, indeed, there are at least three sides to every story.
To commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the end of World War II, this show includes new arrangements of pieces written both during and about wartime experiences, including seldom heard Ladino songs giving voice to experiences historically left out of World War II conversations as well as new arrangements of children’s poetry from Terrezin camp.
Jointly created by Guy Mendilow and Nathan Wadley, Three Sides to Every Story features the Philadelphia Girls Choir and the Guy Mendilow Ensemble in a semi-theatrical collection of vignettes of struggle, redemption and celebration. The show focuses on the pulls and tugs of irony, the tensions in stories that should be utterly dark and yet somehow contain bold hope, or moments of peaceful, picturesque beauty with an underlying despair running just skin-deep. From epic to stark to irreverently funny, Three Sides to Every Story explores the ways that contradictions come together to flesh out a story in greater depth and humanity.
Guy Mendilow Ensemble
"An international tour de force” (Bethlehem Morning Call) from the Middle East, South and North America, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble operates on the notion that incredible stories and emotionally sweeping experiences can do far more than just entertain. They can give glimpses of the past and stir highly resonant, deeply moving connections to contemporary struggles and dilemmas. With this premise in mind, the Guy Mendilow Ensemble combines world-class musicianship with cinematic storytelling in shows that “explode with artistry, refinement, and excitement” (Hebrew Union College), conjuring voices lost to war and upheaval, whisking audiences to distant times and picturesque places and, ultimately, inspiring the motivation to care beyond our day-to-day.
In 2017, the National Endowment for the Arts selected the Guy Mendilow Ensemble for its Art Works, a grant for the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art and the strengthening of communities through the arts.
The Guy Mendilow Ensemble is an artist-in-residence with Celebrity Series of Boston's Arts for All since 2014. Alongside touring with the Ensemble, members are on the faculty of music schools like the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music in India and tour/record with the likes of Bobby McFerrin, Yo Yo Ma, Snarky Puppy, the Assad Brothers, Christian McBride, the Video Game Orchestra, Amanda Palmer and Simon Shaheen. Formed in 2004, the Ensemble is based in Boston, MA and New York, NY, USA.
Philadelphia Girls Choir
Under the leadership of Nathan Wadley, the Philadelphia Girls Choir uses a holistic approach to choral music, relating singing technique, musicianship training, and choral performance to the broader human experience through art, dance, drama, history, geography, and cultural diversity. Notable performances from recent tours include Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Musikverein in Vienna with the Wiener Sängerknaben and collaborations with the Pennsylvania Balle.
Mr. Wadley earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from Missouri State University, and was awarded a graduate assistantship under noted conductor Dr. Guy B. Webb. He is a certified Kodály music educator, and has developed Kodály-based music education and theory programs for several organizations, including the Pennsylvania Girl Choir, The American Boychoir School and the Waldorf School of Princeton.