The Light of Hope Returning

Monday December 21, 6pm PST / 9pm EST

International team of noted artists marks the Winter Solstice with a ground-breaking virtual choral project

Unique in the landscape of virtual choir projects, The Light of Hope Returning is a combined effort of WomenSing of the Bay Area, California (Director, Ofer dal Lal) and Elektra Women’s Choir. This international collaboration features the music of Shawn Kirchner (Los Angeles Master Chorale Composer-in-Residence) and the hand-drawn animation of Kevork Mourad, bringing together 70 women’s voices in homage to the holiday season. The Light of Hope Returning poignantly reflects the current state of global uncertainty, while at the same time ultimately trusting in the cycle of the seasons and the hope embodied by the eventual return of light. The online performance will also feature Canadian soloist Allison Girvan and instrumentalists from the San Francisco Opera Orchestra.

With few concert-length works specifically for women in the choral music repertoire, Dal Lal sought composer Kirchner to create an American folk solstice oratorio. Kirchner’s response was to create The Light of Hope Returning. It includes arrangements of beloved traditional carols along with an equal number of newly written carols, several of which feature texts by Newbery Honoree author Susan Cooper, revered for her poem The Shortest Day, and The Dark is Rising. The work reflects the rich variety of American musical tradition, featuring folk and gospel styles, Appalachian songs and spirituals, and the colors of fiddle, hammered dulcimer, bluegrass-style piano, and jubilant jazz saxophone.

Offering a visual counterpart to this soundscape is the stunning animation of Kevork Mourad. Celebrated New York-based visual artist, Mourad specializes in live performances combining video and hand-drawn elements, as well as multi-layered paintings. Some of his many notable collaborations include Yo Yo Ma and The Silk Road; Handel’s Israel in Egypt for the Los Angeles Master Chorale; interactive stage set design for Beethoven’s Fidelio, Korea National Opera; and Seeing Through Babel at the Asia Society in New York, an installation where one can walk into and around the piece.

Don’t miss this truly monumental musical and artistic collaboration that promises an uplifting and meaningful celebration for our 2020 holiday season.

Go to this link to find this free and festive mid-winter online experience at 6pm PST / 9pm EST on December 21, 2020.


Sunday December 20th, 2 pm PST / 5 pm EST

Join us for on Zoom on Sunday, December 20 at 2 pm PST / 5 pm EST for a chance to meet the artists behind The Light of Hope Returning and view a preview of the concert. Hear composer Shawn Kirchner and WomenSing conductor Ofer dal Lal describe how this project came into existence, and the vision for it to become a cross-border collaboration with Canadian artists, Elektra Women’s Choir and soloist Allison Girvan. Girvan and Elektra’s Artistic Director, Morna Edmundson, will also be in attendance. Kevork Mourad, an engaging speaker as well as the animation artist for the project, will be on hand to share some of his artistic process. Viewers will have the opportunity to chat with the artists and ask questions in this 45 minute session.

This is a free online event you won’t want to miss!

The Zoom link will be available on the website at