Berkshire The View – Mary Verdi’s ‘Flight’ surrounds you with love

BV_lgBerkshire singer-songwriter Mary Verdi is a lifelong musician who started performing at age 3. Today, she continues to create music crossing the genres of sacred music, pop and country.

Her latest album, “Flight,” is Verdi’s sixth release, and nestles well under the category of “sacred world music.” In a YouTube video launching the record, Verdi says, “I wrote “Flight,” in hopes of surrounding the listener with as much love and compassion as possible.”

In that heart vein, the full-length album was released back in February, on Valentine’s Day weekend, in the peaceful studio sanctuary of Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness in downtown Pittsfield, Mass. Verdi will be joined by Eileen Markland (violin/viola), and percussionist John Marshall, on a national “Flight” tour through the United States and Canada. Both Markland and Marshall helped record music for the album, along with Ron De la Vega on upright bass and cello.

The music of “Flight,” certainly hits a sacred note, but in a non-denominational accord. The first track, “Home,” truly does set the tone for the other nine songs the CD’s comprised of. In that track, Verdi sings compassionately in her mezzo-soprano voice: “I know who I am now / I know why you’re here / Together we’ll remember / a world with no fear / Home.” The stringed instruments and gentle percussion add a soulful, soaring feeling to the album, accompanying uplifting lyrics to other songs, with titles like, “Carry On,” “Love’s Sweet Spring,” and “Just as I Am.”

Marshall’s percussion instruments and tempos in particular help the dynamics and tone shift, as his influences include the global drumming traditions spanning from the Middle East to India, to Egypt, West Africa, the Caribbean, and Central Asia. His accompaniment is particularly resonant on tracks like, “Shante” and “Om Mani Padme Hum,” with Markland and De la Vega blending their classical strings in harmoniously with Verdi’s piano and vocals.

flight

Overall, “Flight,” is the kind of album to take with you when you need reflective moments in navigating the journey of life. It can serve as a soundtrack to a meditation or yoga practice, as much as it can to a special time with a loved one or a soothing warm bath. “Flight” can lift you up when the world beats you down.

iobserve.org top story – Lenton concert

Story and photos by Stephen Kiltonic
ADAMS – On March 22, a free Lenten sacred concert, entitled “Behold the Wood,” was performed at Pope John Paul the Great church, featuring the acclaimed singer-songwriter and parish music director Mary Verdi, along with religious education director Ken Kaigle.

The nearly 100 parishioners who braved the cold, blustery, and snowy Berkshire County night were treated to an evening of contemporary and traditional music which included Verdi’s own compositions and some favorite songs by John Michael Talbot and Marty Haugen.

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A Mary Verdi Christmas at the Colonial

The Berkshire Family Focus
November 27, 2012
By Jenn Smith

PITTSFIELD – When it came to looking for inspiration to write an original holiday song among the countless tunes that are out there, local singer-songwriter Mary Verdi only had to look out her window, and “Christmas Time” was born:

Snow is falling, streets are calm. Here we are, at peace.

Christmas lights still shining bright. There is hope this night.

“I wrote this in January, after my first Christmas show,” said Verdi.

“I was staring out the window with the snow falling. I knew then I really wanted to remind people that Christmas is a special time to stop and be thankful for everything and to spend time together. That’s my message,” she said.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, Verdi will return to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield to present her third holiday show. This time she’s bringing special guest and fellow Berkshire County musician Tony Lee Thomas on stage with her, as well as 50 to 60 other musicians — from her seven-piece band to the Craneville Children’s Chorus, plus the jolly man in red himself, Mr. Santa Claus.

“I felt so excited when I was asked to be part of this. I felt like I was going to scream,” said fifth-grader and Craneville Chorus member Madeline Naef. “It makes me feel important (to have been asked), and special because my family will be there celebrating the holiday with me.”

According to a promotional statement for the show, “’Christmas at the Colonial with Mary Verdi’ has become a cornerstone event in the Berkshires.” This year, the Colonial has decided to offer audiences two show times for the program, at 2 p.m. matinée and 7 p.m. show on Saturday.

“Every year you try to change it a little bit, so we’re doing a few new things,” said Verdi.

In deciding the set list for the show, Verdi turned to her Facebook fans and, by popular poll, will be performing Christmas time standards like “Let it Snow,” “No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” and the 1992 country/Christian contemporary hit, “Mary, Did You Know?”

Also new to the program will be a group of seven young violinists from Berkshire Music School, who will lend their talents to a performance of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Christmas Canon,” including the groups smallest member, 7-year-old Nicholas Fu.

“My father was a symphony conductor, so I have a soft spot in my heart for young violin players,” Verdi said. “This little guy, I am putting on a box to make sure the audience can enjoy his playing —what a doll!”

Verdi said she began writing the Christmas show in August to accommodate for all the guest performers and special surprises.

“Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. It’s a time to come together with family and celebrate the birth of Jesus and remember what the holiday spirit is all about,” she said.

“Christmas at the Colonial with Mary Verdi and special guest Tony Lee Thomas” is set for Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children under 16. The Colonial is located at 111 South St. in Pittsfield. For tickets and information go online to berkshiretheatregroup.org.

See the article on The Berkshire Family Focus

Honoring the homecoming article on YNN

Article about the event featuring “Here at Home” video  at the Norman Rockwell Museum Saturday June 23
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Honoring the homecoming of troops past and present
By: Brandon Walker

Soldiers past and present are honored during a ceremony at the Norman Rockwell Museum. As our Brandon Walker reports, the ceremony also paid homage to Norman Rockwell’s paintings of troops returning home from combat.

STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — They consider themselves two soldiers, sharing the story of thousands more. First Lieutenant Andrew Shaw, and his wife, Sergeant Kelsey Shaw honored Saturday as they are welcomed home.

“We just hope to represent each and every one of the veterans proudly, humbled and honored,” said Sgt. Kelsey Shaw.

The husband-wife duo served multiple tours of Iraq, returning from combat in 2005. While it’s been awhile, making sure every local troop is recognized is the goal of the Berkshire County Here at Home Committee… go to YNN article >