Poetic Art: The King’s Singers and Poet Ruth O’Callaghan

By Stacey Mia

The 5th Pre-Congress event of the 31st World Congress of Poets will bring together Grammy Award winning acapella group, The King’s Singers of the United Kingdom and acclaimed English poet, Ruth O’Callaghan in a concert in Siebert Chapel at Carthage College on June 13. The combination of music and poetry is not new, but the formula of combining renowned musical performers with acclaimed literary poets is something very new. And it doesn’t stop there.
Mary Ann Lackovich, President of the 31st World Congress of Poets and the progenitor of this new genre of art, which she dubbed as “poetic art”, plans to combine poetry with every art form imaginable—all forms of music (classical, cultural, ethnic, folk, instrumental and world music), all forms of dance (ballet, modern, jazz, ethnic, folk, ballroom), photography, film, charcoal and pencil drawing, watercolor and oil painting, sculpture, calligraphy, quilting, fashion, string and choral ensembles, modern media, etc.
Her vision of poetic art will be front and center at Carthage featuring the musical prowess of The King’s Singers and the genius of O’Callaghan’s poetry. Philip Lawson, the arranger and member of the King’s Singers, was delighted to collaborate with Ruth for this special performance when he was approached by Lackovich. Lackovich had befriended O’Callaghan while travelling abroad, and after discovering the King’s Singers through one of her Vice Presidents, Stacey Mia, who is a fan, brought them both together. “It will be a beautiful concert! I’m really excited about it, and I wish everyone in Kenosha would come to discover the richness of combining poetry with music at this high level. The King’s Singers are great and will truly enhance the poetry of Ruth.”
Ruth“O’ Callaghan is an English poet, adjudicator and editor, who hosts poetry venues in London, where the famous and unknown poets of the United Kingdom read their poems side by side. Publishers and magazine editors are invited to promote their own poets at these monthly events which began in 2008. Revenue from these events goes to support two separate Cold Weather Shelters for the Homeless. To increase the level of this support, Ruth initiated a poetry competition, which attracts entries from countries as diverse as the United States of America and the United Arab Emirates.
Ruth’s first two collections Where Acid has Etched (Bluechrome 2007) and A Lope of Time (Shoestring 2009) have completely sold out. Her latest collection, Goater’s Alley (2010) has already been reprinted twice. She is presently working on the fourth collection of poems.
Fiona Sampson of Poetry Review, the most prestigious poetry magazine in the U.K wrote: “Ruth O’Callaghan’s poetry has a rare ability to sustain the highest emotional and spiritual stakes. . . O’Callaghan’s ceremonies of verse are deeply personal, yet never hermetic. Instead, her engagement with experience, and the language in which to describe it, welcomes the reader into a poetic world of richly-coloured delights.”
The King’s Singers, 2009 Grammy Award winners, are an internationally renowned six man acapella vocal ensemble, whose repertoire includes everything from Elizabethan chamber music to Spanish folk songs to sacred music to pop including the Beatles and Billy Joel. The group celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2008. The group was formed initially by six choral scholars in 1968 at King’s College in Cambridge. They won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album, Simple Gifts, in February 2009. Today, the ensemble travels worldwide and appears in over 125 concerts each year.
The group is made up of David Hurley (Countertenor 1—1990), Tim Wayne-Wright (Countertenor 2—2009), Paul Phoenix (Tenor—1997), Philip Lawson (Baritone—1993), Christopher Gabbitas (Baritone 2—2004), and Jonathan Howard (Bass—2010).
The King’s Singers will end their performance with the theme song for the 31st World Congress of Poets, “The Shining City on a Hill”. Written by Stacey Mia and Mary Ann Lackovich the song was specially arranged by Philip Lawson of the King’s Singers for this occasion.
The Kenosha event to be held on Monday, June 13 at 730 pm at Siebert Chapel is sponsored by the 31st World Congress of Poets and the Hal Leonard Corporation in collaboration with Carthage College. The concert is free and open to the public. A Meet-and-Greet reception will follow the performance.


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