Excelsior! Chicago Chorale begins its 15th Season

Chorale had an eventful summer. Our concert tour to the Baltic countries was an unqualified success-- we sang in magnificent, acoustically rich venues, for standing room-only audiences; we ate wonderful food, drank exotic local beverages, in great variety and abundance; we stayed in fabulous hotels; we saw and became acquainted with interesting, beautiful countries, each of which had its own compelling story; and we all made it back home, safe and sound. Chicago Chorale performing at St. Peter's Church in Riga, Latvia, July 2015

Less than a week later, we began rehearsals for the screening of the Gladiator movie at Ravinia, music track provided by Chorale and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We invited singers from throughout the Chicago area to join us in this venture, and had, as always, a wonderful time, in a venue and setting unlike anything else we do.

Since then, the singing aspect of the ensemble has been on hiatus, while the administrative wheels have been turning, preparing for our fifteenth anniversary season, finishing the season brochure, readying music for the singers, completing our roster. Now, rehearsals kick in, new singers find their way into the group’s sound and ethos, and we begin learning our concert program for this fall.

Our autumn concert, entitled Arvo Pärt at Eighty, celebrates the career achievement of one of the most important living composers, Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. How fortunate for Chorale, that we were able to sing on his home turf just this past summer, presenting concerts in both Haapsalu and Tallinn. So much of his music is a reflection of his home country, of the sky, the sea, the forests, the White Nights of summer and the dark days of winter-- and we feel enriched by our experience of these things, as we approach his music. We were fortunate to share a concert with an Estonian choir singing predominantly Pärt’s music, in Tallinn—to hear their vocal color and approach, their articulation style (reflecting the Estonian language), their particular type of expressiveness-- all aspects of musical performance that cannot be notated.

About half of our concert will consist of Pärt’s music; the other half will feature individual pieces by composers contemporaneous with him, influenced by him, perhaps even influential on his compositional development. These composers include the Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt, Swede Jan Sandström, Latvian Rihards Dubra, Lithuanian Vytautis Miskinis, Estonian Urmas Sisask, Pole Henryk Gorecki, and Britisher John Tavener-- a virtual who’s who of the spiritual minimalist movement in choral composition.

We will present our concert twice: Friday, November 20, at Hyde Park Union Church, and Saturday November 21, 8 PM, at St. Vincent De Paul Parish, in Lincoln Park. Season subscriptions, as well as individual tickets, will soon be available on our website. We hope to see you at one of these concerts! The music is simply astounding in its beauty, its range of expression, in its sheer sonic mystery. You won’t want to miss this.