Les Délices kicks off 15th anniversary season with residency by Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble


Les Délices opens their 15th Anniversary Season with a landmark collaboration with  Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble (KVE), an all-star assembly of vocalists from across North America that celebrates racial, ethnic, and gender diversity through artistic residencies and educational outreach. KVE’s ten-day residency with Les Délices  culminates in collaborative performances of The Pow’r of Musick on September 29-30th, includes an educational intensive with students from Cleveland School of the Arts, and launches SalonEra Sessions on Sept 23, a new way for Cleveland audiences to experience Les Délices’ popular online series.

Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble


The Pow’r of Musick will celebrate the power of music to uplift, inspire, and reflect deep emotions. Ten artists from Les Délices (Debra Nagy, director) will be joined by eight vocalists from Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble (Arianne Abela, director) and members of the Cleveland School of the Arts’ Dett Concert Choir (Robert McCorvey, director) who raise their voices in beloved choral works by English composer Henry Purcell and compelling new music by living composers Jonathan Woody, Sydney Guillaume, and Caroline Shaw. Audiences will have two opportunities to experience this inspiring program: Friday, September 29th at 7:30 pm at Lakewood Presbyterian Church and Saturday, September 30th at 7:30 pm at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Kulas Hall. Additional program details below.

L to R: composers Jonathan Woody, Caroline Shaw, Sydney Guillaume


Performances of The Pow’r of Musick will cap an intensive 10-day Cleveland residency by KVE artists that includes workshops, mentoring sessions, and masterclasses with students from Cleveland School of the Arts (CSA). Over the course of the residency, CSA students will work with living composer (and KVE baritone) Jonathan Woody, be guided in composing their own justice songs, sing together with KVE for their school communities, and have the opportunity to talk with KVE artists about their own career paths and experiences as BIPOC singers of Classical music.

Says Artistic Director Debra Nagy, “We’ve been working to make this residency a reality for over two years because I really think of KVE as a super-group. I know that each of KVE’s singers are not only spectacular singers but also amazing human beings and dedicated educators. This residency will be an incredible opportunity for CSA students to work closely with members of KVE, and I expect the entire experience – for our artists, students, and audiences – to be transformative.


Les Délices will inaugurate their new, live SalonEra Sessions with Songs for Social Justice featuring KVE artists Michael Walker (countertenor) and Haitham Haidar (tenor). In this 75-minute program combining gorgeous music with fascinating artist insights, Renaissance lute songs, African American Spirituals, and traditional Lebanese melodies will become vehicles for storytelling that explores themes of identity and representation, struggle and resilience, and community and belonging. Les Délices’ SalonEra Sessions will see Northeast Ohioans become the in-studio audience for a new SalonEra episode (this event will be recorded for online release in December). Audiences will be able to listen, learn, and enjoy Songs for Social Justice live on Saturday September 23, 2023 at 3:00pm at The Heights Theater, 2781 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights. The event is free with a suggested donation of $20.


LD Artistic Director Debra Nagy wanted these opening concerts of the group’s milestone 15th Anniversary Season – and the culminating events of KVE’s residency – to feel both celebratory and vital. She explained, “The Pow’r of Musick will take audiences on a real artistic and spiritual journey. While the concert juxtaposes seemingly disparate Baroque and Contemporary works, the through-line in the program is the representation of music as something powerful, meaningful, and bigger than ourselves.”

The Pow’r of Musick is framed by English baroque composer Henry Purcell’s choral anthems Welcome to all the Pleasures and Hail, Bright Cecilia, which pay homage to St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians. Nagy added, “Purcell’s odes for St. Cecilia are ingenious in every way: there are daring, expressive harmonies, beguiling vocal solos, and delightful obbligatos for instrumentalists. But it’s clearly in service to something bigger:  the works are full of references to the Music of the Spheres (or planets), Celestial Harmony, and music as ‘The Soul of the World.’”

In addition to several smaller-scale works by Purcell, The Pow’r of Musick will feature selections by living American composers that emphasize music’s power to help us see the world from other people’s perspectives and be enriched through the experience of deep empathy. Sydney Guillaume’s “This, Too, Shall Pass” concludes with an ecstatic call to embrace each moment and each other; Jonathan Woody’s searing “Nigra sum sed formosa: A Fantasia on Microaggressions” interweaves the familiar Song of Solomon text “I am black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem” (Psalm 121) with racially-charged comments by audience members submitted by Black working musicians; and Pulitzer-prize winning composer Caroline Shaw’s  rapturous “And the swallow” responds to the Syrian refugee crisis. Shaw described the message of the work as, “‘There’s a yearning for a home that feels very relevant today. The second verse is: “The sparrow found a house and the swallow a nest, where she may place her young” which is just a beautiful image of a bird trying to keep her children safe.”

The Pow’r of Music kicks off a thrilling season encompassing four inventive subscription programs, special concerts, multiple touring engagements, the release of two new CDs, and continuation of Les Délices’ popular web series and podcast SalonEra.

Concert subscriptions ($125-200) and Single Tickets ($28-$45) will go on sale via Les Délices’ website (www.lesdelices.org) on August 15, 2023.


The Kaleidoscope Vocal Ensemble presents vocal music with artistic excellence, while celebrating racial, ethnic, and gender diversity. Led by Artistic Director Arianne Abela, the group of professional singers from around the United States have thriving national and international solo careers as well as a love for vocal chamber music, and focus primarily on presenting early and new music. In addition to performances and artistic residencies, the ensemble engages in creative educational outreach to audiences and students, particularly in communities of color, and promotes the study, research, performance, and recording of music from various eras with special attention to the intersection of arts and social justice.

KVE has been featured as a headliner ensemble for the ACDA Southern Region Conference in Raleigh, MC and for the 2022 Podium Conference in Toronto. In March 2022 the ensemble premiered 15 new works at the Five Boroughs Music Festival Songbook premiere. Recent performances include a collaboration with the Folger Consort. In 2024, Kaleidoscope will sing as a headliner ensemble for the ACDA Central Division conference, and hold residencies at Nebraska Wesleyan University and University of Iowa. Kaleidoscope has interacted with high school, elementary, and university students all over the United States in workshops, discussions, and performance collaborations.