Temple Ahavat Achim in the heart of Gloucester celebrates the rebuilding of its temple and memorializing all that was lost in the Middle Street fire of 2007 in a special concert next Thursday.
The concert, titled “As Our Voices Begin To Rise: A Classical Music Concert,” features the talent of Cape Ann’s residents, from a composer to vocalists to musicians. Proceeds will benefit The Grace Center, a day center for the homeless that rotates among the some of Gloucester’s places of worship.
“There are times when a composition can’t wait to be written. This was the case with ‘As Our Voices Begin to Rise,’” said Robert Bradshaw, a Gloucester composer. He remembers well the eight-alarm fire that killed one man, destroyed an apartment complex and the temple.
Bradshaw said he could not stop thinking about the loss.
“The next day we found ourselves driving through the area and my wife asked me to pass by the street where it happened. I was not prepared. How many times had I stood on that corner?” he wrote in an artist statement. “Everything was covered with ice and illuminated by spotlights. No photograph could ever capture what I saw.”
As a father, he felt the emotion about all those affected that he witnessed in his son who was with him.
The result was the cantata “As Our Voices Begin To Rise,” which was inspired by the Congregational hymn “Holy, Holy, Holy” and the ancient Jewish prayer “Avinu Malkeinu.”
“It is a one-of-a-kind classical music concert commemorating the fire at Middle Street and celebrating the amazing community support for all who were affected, along with the opening and dedication of the new Temple Ahavat Achim building,” Bradshaw said.
Performers come from Cape Ann and beyond, including members of the Cape Ann Symphony, the Cape Ann Symphony Singers, The Orchestra On the Hill in Ipswich and Share the Music. The lineup of soloists include Wendy Betts, soprano; Gillian Hurst, alto; Antanas Meilus, tenor; Thomas Palance, trumpet; Briana Polan, flute; Sarah Wetzel, soprano; and Scott Hufford, violin.
The concert also features works by Mendelssohn, Hovhaness, Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia.” There will be a 30-member choir, accompanied by the Beauport Chamber Players and conducted by Bradshaw.
Gail McCarthy may be contacted at 978-283-7000 x3445 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go What and who: "As Our Voices Begin To Rise: A Classical Music Concert," featuring local musicians. When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16 Where: Temple Ahavat Achim at 86 Middle St. in Gloucester. How much: $18, at taagloucester.org, or call the temple at 978-281-0739, or at the door.