Prairie Home Companion choir VocalEssence performs at the University of Chicago

— Posted in Performances

Rockefeller Chapel welcomes Minnesota gem VocalEssence at the next Quire & Place concert, Sunday, March 2 at 3 pm. The performance will feature a collection of American and Mexican choral music of the kind championed by VocalEssence, including the première performance of Timothy Takach’s new work To Love, To Be Swallowed Up. Takach’s work is receiving broad notice for its strong melodic lines and intriguing harmonies.

Also included are works by some of the leading choral composers of today, Stephen Paulus (The Day is Done), Eric Whitacre (Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine), and Aaron Jay Kernis (Glorious Majesty). Mexican rhythms are heard in Pasar la Vida by Jorge Cozatl, and La Cucaracha, arranged by Robert Sund. The music of a Native American composer, an excerpt from Carol Barnett’s Bluegrass Mass, and a salute to Stephen Foster on the 150th anniversary of his death provide a fascinating look at choral music as performed by one of America’s most versatile choral groups. The Rockefeller Chapel Choir adds music of English greats Benjamin Britten and William Walton.

The Quire & Place series, now in its third season, features the Chapel Choir and invited guests in beloved choral masterworks alongside contemporary works of outstanding beauty, including newly commissioned pieces. Quire & Place is the concert series of Rockefeller Chapel, the spiritual and ceremonial center of the University of Chicago and a major presenter of the performing arts. The final concert in the current series will feature Scottish composer James MacMillan’s St. John Passion on Sunday, April 13 at 3 pm., in partnership with Northwestern’s Bienen School of Music, under the direction of choral visionary Donald Nally.

The VocalEssence Ensemble Singers, a 32-voice professional chorus, embody Minnesota’s strong choral music tradition. They have received many awards for their richly blended sound, and are known for being the “house choir” of A Prairie Home Companion. Launched to success by an early collaboration with Aaron Copland, they champion the work of contemporary American composers.

Tickets are $20 (ticketsweb.uchicago.edu), and free to any student with university ID.

Rockefeller Chapel is located at 5850 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60637.

For more information, contact Eden Sabala at 773.702.2100.