The Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) together with Chamber Music on the Fox, the Elgin Master Chorale and Soirée Lyrique, are proud to present Voices of Spring, a collaboration celebrating the vocal arts April 23-May 7. Each organization will offer a concert featuring choral or vocal works, ranging from musical theatre to the Brahms Requiem. Of vocal music, composer and conductor Richard Wagner noted, “The human voice is really the foundation of all music; and whatever the development of the musical art, however bold the composer’s combinations, however brilliant the virtuoso’s execution, in the end they must always return to the standard set by vocal music.” The Voices of Spring celebration kicks-off on Sunday, April 23 at 3 pm at Elgin’s First United Methodist Church, with Soirée Lyrique’s concert Light Opera, featuring famous excerpts from opera, operetta, Viennese waltzes and musical theater. On Monday, April 24, 7:30 pm at the Elgin Art Showcase, Chamber Music on the Fox presents The Transcendent Voice with works by Schubert, Mahler and Cooke. The Brahms Requiem will be performed by the Elgin Master Chorale, celebrating its 70th season, on Sunday, April 30 at 3:30 pm at Elgin Community College, featuring members of the ESO. And on May 6 and 7 at the Hemmens Cultural Center, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra will perform Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer featuring Takaoki Onishi, baritone, and Vaughn Williams’ Serenade to Music with the Elgin Master Chorale. On Saturday, May 6 from 6:30 pm to 7:20 pm, the Nothing But Treble women’s chorus, directed by Rosalind Zager, will perform in the Hemmens Lobby before the ESO concert.
Soirée Lyrique’s largest production this season will be Light Opera, to be presented on Sunday, April 23 at 3:00 pm at Elgin’s First United Methodist Church. Performers will include Soprano Genevieve Thiers, who performed the role of Praskovia in The Merry Widow at Chicago Lyric Opera, alongside Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson last season; soprano Solange Sior, Founder and Artistic Director of Soirée Lyrique, NFP; mezzo-soprano, Jennifer Kosharsky, who recently performed the role of Carmen with the Teatro Lirico d’Europa; baritone Nicholas Provenzale, who was a featured soloist with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra and a winner of the Hawaii Public Radio Art Song Competition; bass-baritone, Keanon Kyles, the ABC7 Singing Janitor, who landed a lead role overseas last summer; and seventeen-year-old violist prodigy Sofiya Kyrylyuk, who recently performed live at WFMT’s Introductions. A string quartet from Chamber Music on the Fox, one of Elgin’s newest and world-class arts organizations will join Soirée Lyrique for this performance as well as Soirée Lyrique’s pianist Dr. Chiayi Lee. Familiar excerpts from famous opera, operetta, Viennese waltzes and musical theater will be presented. Free city deck parking across Highland Avenue. Suggested donations are $15-$30 per person/event. For more information, visit soireelyrique.org, contact email@example.com or 224-595-1526.
Soirée Lyrique’s mission is to create and nourish a greater appreciation of the classical vocal arts and to educate through professional performances and community outreach programs. The primary purpose of the Corporation is to establish and maintain a vocal performing company in Elgin and the Fox Valley area; to produce and present professional concerts and community outreach programs. Soirée Lyrique’s activities include recitals of arts songs as well as opera excerpts with piano accompaniment and/or chamber ensemble. For more information, see soireelyrique.org.
Chamber Music on the Fox will present The Transcendent Voice: Songs of Longing by Schubert, Mahler & Cooke at the Elgin Art Showcase, Monday, April 24 at 7:30 pm. Tickets $20 /$10 students. Internationally recognized mezzo-soprano Susan Platts, Lyric Opera Orchestra french hornist Neil Kimel, and Ryan Opera Center pianist Alan Darling make up the brilliant trio that brings finely crafted artistry to songs about love, death, and transcendence. Performing the music of Schubert, Mahler, and Cooke, prepare to be dazzled throughout this virtuosic opera program. For tickets, see chambermusiconthefox.org.
One of Elgin’s newest arts organizations, Chamber Music on the Fox (CMOTF) is a world-class classical chamber music series serving Elgin and the greater Fox Valley region, whose mission is to present engaging, enriching, and immersive performances and cultural experiences that enhance and enrich the cultural offerings of the area. For more information, visitchambermusiconthefox.org.
The Elgin Master Chorale will perform Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem on Sunday, April 30 at 3:30 pm at Elgin Community College’s Blizzard Theatre. Brahms’ Requiem is the masterwork that brought the group together in 1947 as a “choral union” of many area church choirs. Composed during the height of Brahms’ highly productive and creative career, the full six-movement work received its premiere performance in 1868. While employing sacred texts, Brahms’ Requiem departs from the traditional Latin text and mass parts common to many requiems. Experience one of the world’s most famous and profound pieces, and see what makes this a treasured piece of the repertoire.
A cultural cornerstone of Elgin and the Fox Valley, the Elgin Master Chorale (EMC) creates a thrilling, emotional experience for audiences at each performance by achieving an overall level of excellence in singing, presentation and production. Under the direction of Maestro Andrew Lewis, EMC is comprised of nearly 100 volunteer singers from across the Fox Valley. In 1947 local musician Dean Chipman had a vision of creating a large vocal ensemble to perform Brahms’ famed German Requiem. His dream became reality when 192 singers from over 15 local choirs joined together to give voice to this grand work. The premiere took place on May 7, 1948 at the first Congregational Church of Elgin. Frank Kratky directed the performance accompanied by two pianos. The house was full, the audience enthusiastic, and the largest vocal group in the Fox Valley, the Elgin Choral Union, was underway. The Elgin Master Chorale Children’s Chorus is the newest chapter in the organization’s story. With the retirement of Music Director and Founder Jay Kellner, The Elgin Master Chorale incorporated the Elgin Children’s Chorus into its own operations starting in fall 2016, providing funds and staff needed for the organization to continue. Under the direction of Elgin Children’s Chorus alum Rebecca Narofsky, the EMC Children’s Chorus is in its debut season. Incorporated as a not-for-profit in 1966, EMC changed its name to Elgin Master Chorale in 2014. In residence at Elgin Community College, EMC presents several concerts per year at the Blizzard Theatre at the college, as well as the Hemmens Cultural Arts Center and other locations in the Chicago area. We are proud of our rich history, dedicated singers, and drive to excel; we have certainly grown from our valued roots, and are dedicated to our mission of being the premiere vocal ensemble in the Fox Valley. For tickets and more information, go to elginmasterchorale.org.
On May 6 & 7, at the Hemmens Cultural Center, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra (ESO) and music director Andrew Grams present their season finale with works by Mahler, Mussorgsky and Vaughn Williams. Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s towering Pictures at an Exhibition is based on drawings and watercolors by Viktor Hartmann. The suite has inspired interpretations from such diverse performers as Emerson Lake & Palmer, guitarist Trevor Rabin and even Michael Jackson, who sampled a short section on his song HIStory. As part of the ESO’s ongoing exploration of Mahler, the program also holds Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, a song cycle with lyrics written by the composer himself based on one of his favorite collections of German folk poetry and featuring guest artist Takaoki Onishi, baritone. Also included is Vaughn Williams’ Serenade to Music, with text adapted from Act V, Scene 1 of The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, performed with the magnificent Elgin Master Chorale. Says Andrew Grams, “Rachmaninoff himself stated after attending the premiere of Serenade to Music that it was ‘the most beautiful piece of music he’d ever heard.’ Pictures at an Exhibition has a wonderful melody for the saxophone that captures the painting by Hartmann of a troubadour singing a song before an old castle. The grandeur of The Great Gate of Kiev caps off another great season of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra!” For tickets, visit ElginSymphony.Org.
Performing in the Hemmens lobby prior to the Saturday, May 6 ESO performance will be the newly formed Elgin women’s ensemble, Nothing But Treble, under the direction of Ms. Rosalind Zager. The evening’s repertoire will include everything from an African American spiritual arranged by Rollo Dillworth, to works for women’s voices by Smetana to Syzymko’sPeace of Wild Things to Broadway hits. Ms. Zager is a former Elgin U-46 High School Choral Director and currently is teaching voice in the Fox Valley Area.
Now in its 66th season, the ESO offers programming unmatched for an entertaining, informative and relaxing cultural experience. The ESO has won Illinois Professional Orchestra of the Year an unprecedented four times – in 1988, 1999, 2005 and 2016 – and works to create an enjoyable entertainment experience that goes beyond the magnificent music performed by some of the best musicians in the region. There is accessible, free parking around the Hemmens Cultural Center and valet service available. Area student musicians often perform in the lobby before concerts and patrons can purchase gifts at the Elgin Symphony League Boutique. Pre-concert chats are given by Andrew Grams, guest artists and others one hour before most performances and Saturday night patrons are invited after concerts to Mingle with the Musicians at the Elgin Public House. In addition, free Listeners Club lecture/discussions presented by music historian Jim Kendros are offered before ESO Classics Series concert weekends on Wednesdays at 1 pm at the Gail Borden Public Library. Flex passes are available for purchase so that you can choose your concerts at a later date based on your own schedule. And if a patron can’t make a concert, the ESO offers free exchanges to subscribers and to single ticket buyers for a $5 fee. The ESO is a world-class orchestra providing quality musical explorations that are entertaining, hassle-free and conveniently located close to home in the western suburbs. For more information, see ElginSymphony.Org.