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By Nenad N. Bach | Published  11/11/2001 | Culture And Arts | Unrated
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From the Boston Globe - it's buried in the story. John Kraljic 
 
 
Plymouth offers a Thanksgiving twist 
 
 
By Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent, 11/15/2001 
 
 
LYMOUTH - To Lynne Wilkinson, the message of autumn and Thanksgiving is 
 
renewal and hope. The director of the a cappella chorus Persephone's 
 
Daughters has prepared ''Autumn Leaves,'' a program of songs and 
 
readings, to celebrate those values. 
 
 
 
Included are lines like these from ''November Morning'' by Elizabeth 
 
Tarbox: ''Perhaps the spirit that moves the bird to flight also moves in 
 
us to commit love in response to anger, and kindness where there has 
 
been killing.'' 
 
 
''Autumn Leaves'' will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Plymouth's 
 
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church. It is part of the town's 
 
daylong ''Home to Thanksgiving'' celebration, a series of open houses 
 
and special events. 
 
 
Historic houses and local museums will be open all day, and a 4 p.m. 
 
candlelight vigil at Plymouth Rock will include band music and a talk by 
 
the Rev. Peter Gomes, a Harvard professor and Plymouth native. 
 
 
The 50-voice women's chorus Persephone's Daughters is based on a 
 
traditional African style of learning music. Rather than reading music, 
 
the singers learn songs line by line and phrase by phrase by copying the 
 
leader's singing. The method, taught by Ysaye Barnwell of Sweet Honey in 
 
the Rock, focuses on building a vocal community by teaching music 
 
orally. 
 
 
Wilkinson, who is classically trained and sings with Boston Cecilia, was 
 
inspired by other women's choruses and studied the oral method in 
 
workshops. 
 
 
''The idea is to make music accessible to all women who want to sing,'' 
 
Wilkinson said last week. ''You're teaching everything orally, so they 
 
don't have to be able to read music. It's a way for women to build 
 
community through singing and to experience other cultures through 
 
music.'' The group rehearses on Thursday nights. 
 
 
The concert Saturday will be divided into two parts, ''Autumn'' and 
 
''Harvest Home,'' the English name for the custom that became America's 
 
Thanksgiving. The first half, Wilkinson states in a press release for 
 
the concert, ''explores the message of renewal and hope through the 
 
turning of the seasons.'' The music includes an African chant, the songs 
 
''We are Strong Women'' and ''The Moon is a Cradle,'' a Croatian harvest 
 
song, and a solo performance of ''Seasons of Peace.'' 
 
 
The late Elizabeth Tarbox, a South Shore Unitarian Universalist 
 
minister, published two books of meditations. ''November Morning'' 
 
reflects on whether the wild goose knows that the hunter awaits. 
 
''Perhaps the bird knows and flies on,'' Tarbox wrote in the meditation 
 
that will be read at ''Autumn Leaves'' by a chorus member. ''Perhaps the 
 
bird knows what we know, that the world is a place of beauty, and of 
 
madness, of violence, and of compassion.'' 
 
 
The seasons teach the wisdom, and the solace, of ''turning,'' Wilkinson 
 
said. Even with the coming of winter, she said, the message of turning 
 
is hope and understanding. It is a message the director of Persephone's 
 
Daughters finds particularly relevant after the Sept. 11 attacks, and a 
 
theme Plymouth organizers sought to embody in the events of Saturday's 
 
''Home to Thanksgiving.'' 
 
 
The event was scheduled for the Saturday before Thanksgiving when town 
 
leaders learned that the annual Thanksgiving parade would not be held 
 
this year. Parade organizers complained of a lack of local support. 
 
 
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the town added a candlelight 
 
vigil to the day, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Town church bells will ring, the 
 
high school band will play, and the eloquent Gomes will frame some words 
 
on ''Hope and Thanksgiving.'' 
 
 
Hope and Thanksgiving figure in the ''Autumn Leaves'' concert too. In 
 
lines written by the late Unitarian Universalist minister Raymond 
 
Baughan, the speaker asks the falling leaves, ''Teach me to turn/ My 
 
sullen sense toward marvel.'' 
 
 
The second part of the concert will include a round to be taught the 
 
audience and sung in four languages - English, Hebrew, Latin, and German 
 
- and several versions of the 23d Psalm. A chorus member will recite the 
 
psalm, and the chorus will sing the Bobby McFerrin version. It will also 
 
include a Native American song and a reading from a famous Shawnee 
 
chief, Tecumseh. 
 
 
The concept of learning from the seasons to deal with the ups and downs 
 
of life underlies the chorus's name. In Greek mythology, Persephone is 
 
the daughter of Earth goddess Demeter. Her abduction by the god of the 
 
underworld ultimately brings about the seasons, after Demeter freezes 
 
the earth in a permanent winter. In a deal brokered on Mount Olympus, 
 
Persephone is permitted to return to her mother, but must spend four 
 
months each year underground. Persephone's Daughters hopes to nourish 
 
the souls of listeners by teaching the genuinely spiritual importance of 
 
going with the flow. 
 
 
The proceeds of the concert will go to the town's No Place for Hate 
 
Committee, created last year to promote tolerance and diversity. 
 
Tickets, $10 for adults; $5 for seniors, students, and children, will be 
 
available at the door. 
distributed by CROWN (Croatian World Net) - CroworldNet@aol.com 
 
  
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