Critically acclaimed early music band Ruckus makes its debut at the Clark with an afternoon, outdoor performance of Holy Manna: Sacred Music from early America and England, in collaboration with bass-baritone John Taylor Ward.
Advance registration is required and ticket availability is very limited. Tickets can be purchased in groups of 1-4 people who will be seated together in groups to ensure social distancing. In compliance with Massachusetts guidelines, audience members are required to wear face coverings throughout the duration of the performance.
Guests are welcome to bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic out on the grounds before the concert begins! Food is available for purchase at Café 7 until 3 pm. No food is permitted in the performance space.
In the event of inclement weather, the performance will be cancelled.
About Holy Manna
In eighteenth-century New England, many small towns had their own hymn book dedicated to its singing citizens. These short songs were based on popular folk melodies of the day, fiddle tunes, and the like. By the nineteenth century, as they waned in popularity in the North, these books gained new resonance in Southern religious revivals. The use of ‘shape notes,’ (a unique method of notation) helped make them accessible to untrained singers. By the mid nineteenth century, these hymns were roared out in spiritual fervor across the American frontier. Their widespread dissemination via publications such as The Southern Harmony and The Sacred Harp, confirmed their legacy as one of the foundations of an ‘American’ sound.‘
Paired with these tunes are selections of instrumental music from seventeenth-century England, featuring the mysterious In Nomines of Henry Purcell, John Jenkins and William Lawes.
Tracing origins and influence through restoration England, eighteenth-century New England, and nineteenth-century Appalachia, Ruckus and Ward show both the birth of a repertoire and the nourishment of communing through music.
Set in the traditional ‘hollow square’ of shape note singing practice, this presentation invites listeners into some of the most intimate music-making traditions of all time where the distinction between audience and artist is erased, and the shared experience of creation and community reigns.
John Taylor Ward, bass-baritone
Emi Ferguson, flutes
Priscilla Herreid, oboe and recorders
Clay Zeller-Townson, bassoon and tenor oboe
Rachell Ellen Wong, violin
Loren Ludwig, viols
Doug Balliett, bass viol
Paul Holmes Morton, theorbo and banjo
Elliot Figg, organ and harpsichord
Ruckus is a baroque band with a fresh, visceral approach to early music that has quickly established a reputation as one of North America’s most compelling voices in the field. The ensemble aims to fuse the early music movement’s questing, creative spirit with the grit, groove, and jangle of American roots music, creating a unique sound of “rough-edged intensity” (The New Yorker). Ruckus’s core members form a continuo section, the baroque equivalent of a rhythm section: guitars, keyboards, cello, viola da gamba, bassoon, and bass. From this core, the ensemble expands into a variety of formations utilizing a roster of some of America’s most virtuosic and creative performers of old instruments.
About John Taylor Ward
Praised for his “stylish abandon” (The New Yorker), John Taylor Ward’s work weaves together performance, scholarship, and community building in an effort to broaden the impact of the arts. Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Ward has maintained his connection to rural music and communities. His passion for rural musical traditions led him to a doctorate at the Yale School of Music, where his research focused on the performance practice of shape note music. In an effort to introduce this repertoire to a wider audience, Taylor has brought these works of early American art music to symphony halls, cabarets, and learning institutions around the world.