Skip to Content
/ Articles / Arts & Culture /

Upon Weightless Wings – Berks Sinfonietta Live

Story written by David McConnell

Aug 13, 2021

Berks Sinfonietta is thrilled to present it first in-person concert, Saturday, August 21 at 7:30 pm at Immanuel UCC, 99 South Waverly Street, Shillington 19607. For the safety of our players and our audience, the following measures are in place: please do not attend if you have an elevated temperature or are displaying any COVID-like symptoms. Vaccinated individuals may go unmasked, though we strongly encourage everyone in attendance to mask. Unvaccinated individuals must wear masks. A limited number of masks will be available if you forget yours. The concert will also be live-streamed for the cost of an at-will donation. Anyone can join by simply visiting

The concert opens with “Upon Weightless Wings” by living English composer Grace Evangeline Mason. Its three movements each take inspiration from separate contemporary artworks. The first, ‘In Sheep’s Clothing’, is a slow, dark movement inspired by the pine sculpture of the same name by Martin Puryear (1996). The second movement ‘and, between light and darkness’, is based upon the oil painting ‘Y una entre luz y penumbra’ (2006) by Manuel Huertas Torrejon, in which two birds perch facing each other on a ledge, one in shadow and the other illuminated by daylight. The final movement ‘To Breathe Now’ was inspired by ‘To Breathe – A Mirror Woman’ (2006) by multidisciplinary artist Kimsooja, in which she transformed a palace into a glorious display of reflected rainbows. Mason writes: “Across the three movements the piece explores themes of liberation; transitioning from darkness to light, restrain to freedom.”

Composed in 1830, Mendelssohn’s “Hebrides Overture” was in 1833. Inspired by the composer’s trips to the Scottish island of Staffa (with its basalt sea cave), Mendelssohn purportedly jotted down the work’s opening theme after seeing the island. Some scholars consider the work a concert overture, meaning it does not precede a play or opera, but is instead a standalone composition. Others argue it is an early example of the Romantic symphonic poem because it paints a literal and emotional picture of the cave’s awe-inspiring beauty. Whatever the case, it is fabulous music and quickly became a part of the standard orchestral repertoire.

Jessie Montgomery’s “Strum,” originally conceived for cello quintet, will be heard in its string quintet arrangement. The strumming pizzicato serves as a texture motive and the primary driving rhythmic underpinning of the piece. Drawing on American folk idioms and the spirit of dance and movement, the piece suggests a narrative of fleeting nostalgia that transforms into ecstatic celebration.

Beethoven’s magnificent seventh symphony was composed between 1811 and 1812. After its premiere, Beethoven remarked it was one of his best works. The work uses rhythmic devices suggestive of dance, such as dotted rhythm and repeated rhythmic figures. The German composer Richard Wagner described the symphony as the “Apotheosis of the Dance itself: it is Dance in its highest aspect, the loftiest deed of bodily motion, incorporated into an ideal mold of tone.”

Live concert tickets ($15/Adult & $5/Child) are available at the door and online at
Join us on Saturday, August 21 at 7:30 pm for an evening of enthralling music, in-person or via livestream. To learn more, please visit

We need your support!

Your contribution makes community media possible.

A donation of any size to your nonprofit media organization supports the future of media access in our community - the things you love, and the places you care about, by the people you know.

Live Streaming