Sound Journey with Nirmal Chandraratna

Feb 24, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

First Parish welcomes Nirmal Chandraratna, a New York City-based Kirtan artist and composer with a passion for nurturing connection – to spirit, to community, and to one’s deeper self – through music. Using the voice, the harmonium and the cello, he creates music for Kirtan and meditation, and works for communal performance. He will collaborate with our director of music Rip Jackson. In this evening experience, set in a dynamic, meditative environment, you are invited to connect with your intentions, both for yourself and for the world, and to let them take flight using the transformative power of sound. Layered textures of the human voice, cello, and percussion will weave a tapestry of music and mantra. Though sound vibration works on subtle levels, even at the level of human perception, we are able to receive and interact intentionally with vibrations, not only through our ears but also through our bodies: we respond viscerally to beauty in the form of harmonics, rhythm and melody, and we can work in this space to align our lives with our vision for a better world. At the beginning of the evening, we’ll come together as a community, singing together and sharing our intentions. We’ll raise the intensity, and then you’ll be invited to settle into a comfortable position to meditate in a darkened, candle-lit environment as a concert of expansive music and textures unfolds.

Nirmal Chandraratna was born to Sri Lankan parents in Rochester, New York. He began studying cello at 9 years and continued until the end of his undergraduate years at Brown University. There he received his BA in Music, led a jazz a cappella group and arranged music for a 24-member cello choir. Nirmal found his passion in music composition and received his Masters in Music in 1998 from San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where he concentrated on vocal composition and opera, and then further explored dramatic music at the BMI Lehmen Engel Musical Theater workshop in New York City. In 2010, Nirmal discovered Kirtan, a call-and-response practice of singing mantra, and fell in love with Kirtan’s intentionality and immersive nature. He began studying Sanskrit, Eastern philosophy and mantra, and has been leading Kirtan ever since; he has sung Kirtan in the Netherlands, Quebec, Boston, New England, upstate New York and New York City. Kirtan and mantra have influenced his other compositions in his desire to continue to include the audience into a musical experience in an intentional manner, and he also offers guided meditations on the chakras, Sound Journeys, live music for yoga classes, and other creative offerings.

Free will offering.

Missa Gaia at First Parish

Apr 13, 2018 - Apr 14, 2018
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

First Parish in Lexington will present Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia: A Mass for the Earth on Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, 2018 at 7:30 PM. This profound work, under the musical direction of Rip Jackson and theatrical and dance direction of Maris Wolff, will be a collaboration between the First Parish sanctuary and children’s choirs, the Vermont Dance Collective and a world music ensemble of percussionists, guitar, piano, electric keyboards, soprano sax, oboe, cello and bass. Integrating world music with songs from the Wild to celebrate the whole earth as a sacred space, the Missa Gaia was commissioned by the Dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine as a contemporary ecumenical Mass for the Earth. Paul Winter has “achieved a distinguished triumph in combining divergent music styles and imaginatively wedding voices, instrumentation and recorded sounds of a tundra wolf, canyon and musical wrens, harp seals, a flight of loons and singing humpback whales.” There will be an Earth Fair and reception featuring Lexington environmental organizations in Parish Hall after both performances. Tickets will be on sale through the office at First Parish and online.  Tickets are $25.00 for adults, $20 seniors and $15.00 for students.  Reduced ticket prices are available for those in need.  For more information, visit www.fplex.org or call 781-862-8200.

Pre-concert drumming at 7:15 pm.