Scituate composer collaborates with R.I. Civic Chorale and Orchestra

Scituate composer collaborates with R.I. Civic Chorale and Orchestra

Roger Cichy, an Emmy Award-winning composer, sits in his home studio, located in Scituate. On March 25, his first composition for a choir will be performed by the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence.

SCITUATE – Roger Cichy is an Emmy Award winning composer who has written more than 300 pieces of music, has premiered work all over the world, and collaborated with Hollywood names like Tom Selleck and Mathew Broderick.

He’s also a husband, father, and Scituate resident who calls northern Rhode Island home. And most of those award winning scores are created in his own studio, right in Scituate.

At first glance, his studio might look like the standard musician’s work space. Music stands with empty sheet music. Mountains of CDs and microphones tucked in the corner. But a gold glimmer from the corner of the room, coming from a polished Emmy, sets the space apart.

This month Cichy will be premiering his first composition for a choir, instead of a solely instrumental piece, which until now has been his specialty.

“When the conductor contacted me, he said, ‘We want you to try something different,’ and I appreciate that invitation,” Cichy said.

The 11-minute piece, which took two months to write, is titled, “I Dream a World” and it is inspired by the Langston Hughes poem of the same name. It will be performed by the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra March 25 at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence.

RICCO commissioned the piece for its 60-year anniversary, but it also happens to be the 30-year anniversary of its conductor Edward Markward and nine year anniversary of its collegiate vocal competition.

To mark the occasion, the Artistic Committee of RICCO, headed by Markward, felt Cichy, an accomplished local composer, would be the perfect fit.

When Markward reached out to Cichy with a few poems, “it became apparent the favorite,” said Markward.

The Langston Hughes poem was written in the first half of the 20th century and inspired by civic unrest. The opening lines, “I dream a world where man/No other man will scorn,” convey a yearning for peace.

Cichy and the conductor felt the piece was timely.

“While we’ve made some progress since Langston Hughes, there’s more to do,” Markward added.

There’s also something that makes this collaboration with Cichy particularly special.

Carole Del Bonis, a singer in the chorale and the marketing chair person for RICCO, put it simply, “It’s very unusual. Most of them (composers) are not even living anymore.”

It’s no secret that many of the great works performed by chorale groups and orchestras were written hundreds of years ago by long deceased composers, like Mozart and Chopin.

Having Cichy’s feedback during rehearsals is a rare benefit that Del Bonis said goes a long way.

“It has been a privilege to work with him,” she said.

Although Cichy often has plenty of work to do, he still finds time to collaborate with the local public schools. Before Cichy was a full-time composer, his first job was that of a high school band director, and he still values sharing music with young students.

“I like to work with some of the school ensembles,” Cichy said, “to show them a more creative process.”

When he first moved to Scituate, he wrote a piece called “Festival!” inspired by the Scituate Arts Festival. It was commissioned by Scituate High School.

After 350 works and counting, Cichy doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Cichy said.

Cichy’s “I Dream a World” will be performed along with Joseph Haydn’s “Mass in Time of War” and four collegiate soloists will also be featured throughout the evening.

The concert will take place Saturday, March 25, at 7:30 p.m. and tickets start at $24 for adults and $10 for students.

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