The Light of Hope Returning

6:00pm PST December 21st, 2020 at

An American Folk Solstice Oratorio


Welcome, one; welcome all. 
It is Midwinter’s Eve.

The light of the shortest day has passed,
and we enter now into the deepest night.

Here we will face the death of a year,
the death of a lamb,
the cruelty of a fox,
and the rage of a tyrant king.

And here we will witness the birth of a year,
the birth of a child,
the care of a shepherd,
and the wisdom of a woman who has seen many winters.

The Old Year turns, and the bright fire is burning.

Unique in the landscape of virtual choir projects, The Light of Hope Returning  video marks both the Christmas season and the Winter Solstice. A performance of Shawn Kirchner’s work by the same name, it 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 70-minute video, the product of an international collaboration, features 70 singers from WomenSing and Elektra Women’s Choir, vocal soloist/reader Allison Girvan, Kirchner on piano and hammered dulcimer, instrumentalists from the San Francisco Opera, and stunning, hand-drawn animation by Kevork Mourad. A 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 with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad Ensemble; Handel’s Israel in Egypt for the Los Angeles Master Chorale; interactive stage set design for Beethoven’s Fidelio for the 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.

Viewer reactions to the premiere included “Food for the heart & soul, especially during this troubling time. Light into the darkness!“, “I am moved to tears by the depth of love that has been poured into this creation. Thanks to all of you, it’s a great blessing.“, and “Immensely moving, visually mysterious, vocally glorious. Many, many thanks.

The Light of Hope Returning video is a co-production of Elektra Women’s Choir, WomenSing of the Bay Area, California (Director, Ofer dal Lal), and Shawn Kirchner.

Read artist bios, view a 60-minute “Meet the Artists” video, and subscribe to receive updates on future showings at

The link below provides details on the musical work, The Light of Hope Returning.

Performance Pieces:

  1. Light of Hope Returning, The Shawn Kirchner

Canadian Work Legend Canadian Work