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Watch and Listen: Craft Works Music Celebrates Walt Whitman's 200th Birthday

Craft Works Music

The choral ensemble Craft Works Music visited WRTI 90.1 on Wednesday, May 22nd at 12:10 PM to sing highlights from upcoming concerts based on Walt Whitman's poetry, in honor of his 200th birthday. They also talked with WRTI's Susan Lewis about Whitman's legacy.

Craft Works Music, in collaboration with the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Rosenbach Library and Museum, has created two educational concert programs of choral music based on the poetry of Whitman, featuring music from the Drinker Collection of choral music of the Free Library. 


Van der Stucken, "Weave in, My Hardy Life," from the 1901 Laurel Song Book collection of American choral music; representative of late 19th-century American choral music

Stanford, Elegiac Ode (3rd mvmt)  Based on "When lilacs last bloom'd," the long poem composed in commemoration of Lincoln's death, this is song from 1884 is the first of many musical settings of Whitman by the great British church composers.

Persichetti, Celebrations, M. 2 ("There is that in me," "A clear midnight")  Persichetti lived in Philadelphia and was a frequent patron of the Free Library.

Ward, "Hush'd Be the Camps Today"  Whitman's poems about the carnage of war serve as the vehicle for many of the major choral settings of his works.

Kelley, "O Captain! My Captain!"  Another selection from the Laurel Song Book by an early American composer on this famous Whitman text.

Craft Works Members Visiting WRTI: 

Diana Maye Whitener (Soprano) · Jackie Dunleavy (Soprano) · Sierra Fox (Alto) · Brian Ramsey (Alto) Josh Hartman (Tenor) · Sean McElwee (Bass) · Les Anders (Bass) · David Hughes (pianist) · Karl Hein (artistic director)

Craft Works' upcoming concerts: May 30, 6 PM at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, and on June 10, 7 PM - at the main branch (Parkway Central) of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Founded in Philadelphia in 2017, Craft Works Music develops, discusses, and performs music from all eras, genres, and cultures, mainly in the choral repertoire. The ensemble explores and collaborates with other musicians and experts about the process of crafting music and we share this via podcast and live events. 

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.