Bringing Choral Music to the MANNA Many
In 2016, Eve Boltax of the chamber music duo Patchtax met Libby Gatti, a chaplain in the MANNA community (Many Angels Needed Now and Always) at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in downtown Boston. Through many conversations, they decided to offer more music in the MANNA community-- a group of homeless and recently housed adults. Over the past eight months, through their Creative City grant, Patchtax (Boltax and Mary Joy Patchett) collaborated with Gatti and Reverend Cristina Rathbone to teach the group about the power of choral singing.
“Singing is such a powerful therapeutic modality,” Boltax shares, “and the MANNA community is such a vital and loving community. We create a space to uplift –both through the individual and collective voices of the community. Over time, it's been rewarding to build relationships with this special community. The church and the singers have met us with such commitment to both doing the work and the joy for singing. MANNA not only seeks to welcome people across differences of class, wealth, race, and mental ability, but also to empower all people to claim their place as essential members of the community.”
“Song brings us together and raises us up,” shares The Rev. Cristina Rathbone, Canon Missioner at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul. “Under the leadership of Eve and Mary Joy, The MANNA Singers brings joy to our community every Tuesday afternoon -- no matter what. As one of our MANNA Singers, Al, says, "Our voices are different, but we share the same spirit. Nothing on this earth can silence our voices. We are the MANNA Singers. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
The MANNA Singers held two public concerts both at the church, including their Gala Concert this May, featuring popular songs by John Denver, The Beatles, Michael Jackson and more. Proceeds raised via donation went to the MANNA program at the church.
Patchtax is dedicated to redefining the parameters of new music. The duo, comprised of saxophonist Mary Joy Patchett and violist Eve Boltax, was founded in 2013. At its core, patchtax is a chamber music ensemble with a non-traditional instrumentation exploring unconventional performance practices. Patchtax’s repertoire includes a broad range of original arrangements of early to modern classical pieces to contemporary works including new commissions. Working within a discipline that has deeply embedded traditions, patchtax creates unique worlds on stage, addressing the need within the classical music community to seek new ways of relating to 21st century audiences.
About Community Partner the Cathedral of the Church of St. Paul’s The Manna Singers
MANNA (Many Angels Needed Now and Always) is a ministry of and with the homeless community in downtown Boston. Through MANNA, the ministry seeks to welcome folks across differences of class, wealth, culture, race and mental ability, and also to empower all people to claim their place as essential members of the community—as everyone has gifts to give and to receive. According to Manna, “we need each other and we gather each week to serve, to pray, and to create together.”
Watch the video of the spring performance: