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Sharing releases, present and past, to brighten your day. WXXI Classical has its eyes and ears on the latest releases from classical artists working today. When we come across a story or a release we think you might enjoy, we’ll be sharing it with you on CD Spotlight. You’ll learn more about the artists online at WXXI Classical, and you’ll hear selections from these artists on FM 91.5. CD Spotlight shares new releases by artists that you’ll want to know and some by great artists and ensembles that deserve to be in the spotlight again.

CD Spotlight: The Covid-19 Sessions by Cantus

Cantus Covid 19 Sessions
Cantus Covid 19 Sessions

March, 2020. Suddenly, everything stopped. We were all trying to cope, to figure out what’s next. Vacations were postponed. Stores and restaurants were closed. Concerts were cancelled.

Musicians around the world wondered what would happen next. Presenters and artists alike found themselves with no revenue sources and no clear idea of when things might begin again. Cantus found itself, like everyone else, with no concert schedule and a muddy future. So they did the one thing they knew: They sang.

As Cantus explains: “Amidst these concerns, a more fundamental uncertainty grew with the guidelines on social distancing and the prohibitions on large gatherings. How can we, how can you, how can anyone create a sense of community during a crisis like this? We recognized we had a limited window in which to offer what we could as artists.”

“These recordings are the result of that action — we wanted to come together in a time of great stress and uncertainty and offer what we could to the world, our community, and each other. We wanted to make music: music live and in-person, while it was still possible.”

Between March 3 and June 16,2020, Cantus released a series of videos on YouTube and Facebook of music they felt would inspire and heal. And it worked. In fact, it worked so well that Signum decided to release all of these recordings as The Covid-19 Sessions. You may know some of the songs, like Biebl’s “Ave Maria,” while others may be new to you. As you listen to this extraordinary musical document of the pandemic shutdown, may you find joy, wonder, and a moment or two of serenity.

A Strong Memorial baby and Greece Arcadia grad, Julia Figueras was the Music Director and mid-day host for WXXI Classical until June 30, 2023 when she retired after more than 26 years of service. She also hosted the award-winning monthly interview/performance show, Backstage Pass.