Live perfomances: 

May 12th and 14th at the Old Dutch Church

272 Wall St, Kingston, NY 12401

Abridged virtual release May 30th, 2021 

Chelsea Fingal DeSouza, soprano

CodyRay Caho, performance artist

Michael Lewis, pianist and music director

Ellen Jackson, director

Before Body Meets Earth blends the formal classical recital with theatrical storytelling to explore ideas of value as seen through the experiences of two characters - portrayed by Chelsea Fingal DeSouza and CodyRay Caho. Through song and performance art we see the conflict of each character in relation to each other and their physical environments. On the surface, this recital embodies two people’s struggle to connect and their search for the empathy needed to do so. Music and poetry spanning over 2600 years (Sappho - Dicky Dutton) of human experience work to highlight the vital connections of humanity which affirm our innate value both in and outside of our contributions as living creators. We are alive BEFORE BODY MEETS EARTH!

The concept for this performance was born out of an observation that, despite an abundance of modern-day works and productions being continuously created, the expectation to prioritize traditional repertoire continues to be heralded over their contemporary mates. We recognize the wealth and breadth of works available to classical artists including hundreds of years of poetry, music, beliefs, and experiences which reveal vital connections and congruences to modern day art.

Of the 25 composers and poets included in this program, ten are living and seven have lived within the past 100 years. That generations of music, perspectives, and ideas can come together to serve our singular intention of value is no mistake. Our project reveals one of classical music’s greatest strengths: human experience is timeless. The way we express this universality may transform, but the truth of humanity remains consistent. Before Body Meets Earth expresses this truth two-fold: through the way we exercise empathy with those in our lives, and in the way we value the works of artists throughout time, place, and experience.

We derive strength in our project from the wealth of perspectives, styles, and forms of expression lended to us by the body of chosen composers, poets, and collaborators that comprise this work!