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Hudson Chorale Hosts Emily Dickinson

Location: New York, USA
Choir type: Professional Choirs

~~Music!  Theatre!  Emily Dickinson!   Come enjoy all three as Hudson Chorale proudly invites you to its 2014 benefit event: a concert staging of My Business Is to Sing! by local playwright Barbara Dana on Saturday, April 5th, 2014, at 7:30 pm at the Chappaqua Library Theater, 195 South Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, New York.  You won’t want to miss this opportunity to become more acquainted with one of America’s most beloved poets.  This new play, which explores the life, letters, and poems of Emily Dickinson, is directed by Anthony Arkin and features mezzo-soprano Kathleen Shimeta and Tony Award nominee Amelia Campbell as Emily.  The music is by Martin Hennessy with additional song settings by Aaron Copland, Drew Hemenger, Michael Conley and others.

Award-winning author Barbara Dana has had an enduring interest in Emily Dickinson.  A Westchester resident and Hudson Chorale member, Ms. Dana has been studying the poet for over fifteen years and is the author of two books related to Dickinson: A Voice of Her Own: Becoming Emily Dickinson (a novel), and Wider than the Sky: Essays and Meditations on the Healing Power of Emily Dickinson, of which she is co-editor.  Dana admires Dickinson as a person who had strong inner convictions about what was true and was willing to surmount tremendous odds to hold onto that truth and express it in her writing.  The poet also suffered from both physical and psychological issues and fears that at the time were not understood and for which there were no treatments available.  The result is that Dickinson’s work was well ahead of its time because she refused to let go of her own voice.  This is particularly notable when you consider she lived in Puritan New England where women writers were essentially non-existent. 

In My Business is to Sing!, forty year-old Emily is now a recluse.  Close to 1,800 of her poems are in the bottom drawer of her bureau and less than a handful of them have been published.  Having awakened from a disturbing dream, she must confront her own mortality as she searches through her diary for some sense of meaning to her life.  There is no evidence that Emily Dickinson ever kept a diary, but if she did, Dana gives us an idea of the thoughts and events that it might have contained.

An actor as well as an author, Barbara Dana has been playing Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst by William Luce for the last several years in the US and Canada.  Friends of Hudson Chorale may remember her electrifying performance in Luce’s one-woman play when she brought Emily to life on the same stage in Chappaqua four years ago.  A member of the audience that evening remarked, I go to the theater in New York all the time, but I have to say that there is no theater in all the world where I would rather have been this evening than right here in Chappaqua.  With Dana behind the scenes this time, Hudson Chorale promises another sensational evening with Emily on April 5th. 

Proceeds from the event benefit Hudson Chorale, the area’s largest not-for-profit community chorus which provides outstanding choral concerts in conveniently located central Westchester venues.  Tickets for the play and the reception which follows are $60 and can be purchased by phone or at the door.  For tickets or more information, call 914-332-0133.  Visit the chorus online at


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