English Choirmaster and Composer Philip Moore to Conduct St. Charles Singers, 5/17-18

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English Choirmaster and Composer Philip Moore to Conduct St. Charles Singers, 5/17-18 Eminent English choirmaster and composer Philip Moore will make his Chicago-area conducting debut when he leads the St. Charles Singers in an all-British season-finale program at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, 2014, at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St., River Forest, Ill., and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 18, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles.

This will be the St. Charles Singers' first concert in the River Forest-Oak Park area since the mixed-voice professional chamber choir was founded three decades ago.

Titled "Bouquet of Voices," the capstone program of the St. Charles Singers' 30th concert season will offer the U.S. premiere of Moore's "At the round earth's imagined corners," a choral setting of a religious sonnet by English Renaissance poet John Donne. Brass, organ, and percussion will accompany the choir in this Judgment Day meditation. Brass will include four trumpets, French horn, three trombones, and tuba. The percussion section will comprise timpani, snare and bass drums, cymbals, glockenspiel, and xylophone.

Spanning from the English Renaissance to the present day, the program of sacred and secular music, including arrangements of British folk songs, will offer works about peace, with Memorial Day in mind, and works celebrating the joys of spring.

In addition to guest conductor Moore's own composition, the program will include Edward Bairstow's "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent," Benjamin Britten's "The Evening Primrose," William Byrd's "Solve, iubente Deo," John Clements's "Flower of Beauty," Herbert Howells's "Magnificat," Gustav Holst's "I Love My Love," Peter Knight's arrangement of John David's "You Are the New Day," and Felix Mendelssohn's "Verleigh uns Freiden." (Although German-born, Mendelssohn spent a total of about 20 months in Britain, where his popularity and influence were considerable.)

Also: Robert Pearsall's "Lay a Garland," John Rutter's "Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron," Charles Stanford's "Beati Quorum Via," Thomas Tallis's "Miserere Nostri," and Ralph Vaughan Williams's "Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge," "The Dark Eyed Sailor," and "The Turtle Dove."

Trained in the great cathedral performance traditions of England, Moore held the post of organist and master of the music at York Minster cathedral for 20 years. He studied at the Royal College of Music and has held the posts of assistant organist at Canterbury Cathedral and organist and master of the choristers at Guildford Cathedral.

He has written and published more than 300 choral works.

The 2013 London Festival of Contemporary Church Music paid a 70th-birthday tribute to Moore by presenting a concert of his music. Reviewer Roderic Dunnett wrote of the "eloquence and originality," "energy and stature," and "distinction, vitality, and refinement" of his choral creations. "Moore's music is unmistakably his," he wrote. St. Charles Singers' founder and artistic director Jeffrey Hunt invited Moore to lead the chamber choir's May concerts after England's John Rutter, who was originally scheduled to conduct, withdrew due to health concerns.

"Philip Moore comes from the same tradition of British music that's always played such an important part in the life of the St. Charles Singers," Hunt says. "With his participation, we'll be able present the same type of concert we originally envisioned, but with another revered English composer-conductor on the podium."

In a message to the St. Charles Singers and its fans, Rutter, a renowned figure in the choral music world, wrote,"I have been privileged to direct Jeff Hunt's choir on a number of fondly-remembered occasions over the years, and it is like being allowed to drive someone else's finely-tuned Rolls-Royce (or whatever is your favorite luxury car). They purr along effortlessly at high speed, negotiate the awkward corners with ease, make you feel like a better driver -- and you don't even have to fill them up with fuel."

Rutter continued: "My old friend Philip Moore, for many years organist of York Minister here in the UK, is going to be in the driving seat this time, and I can promise the audience a marvelous ride, with a lovely program of English music, including lots of my favorites and some little-known gems, too. Don't miss it!"

'Bouquet' Voices

The 37 ensemble members of the St. Charles Singers performing in "Bouquet of Voices" include sopranos Kayleen Sanchez of Carol Stream, Amanda Brex-Castillo of Cary, Ingrid Burrichter of Chicago, Candace Kless and Jennifer Mamminga of Geneva, Laura Johnson of Hanover Park, Cynthia Spiegel of La Fox, Carelle Flores of Oswego, Grace Bardsley of St. Charles, and Karen Lukose of Winfield.

Altos are Bethany Wolford of Algonquin, Sarah Underhill of Aurora, Valerie Heinkel-Bollero of Batavia, Rachel Olson of Chicago, Julie Popplewell of North Aurora, Bridget Kancler of Oak Park, Jennifer Hunt and AnDrea James of St. Charles, and Katy Wells of Schaumburg.

The tenor section will include Gregor King of Chicago, Rob Campbell and Bryan Kuntsman of DeKalb, Andrew Jeffrey of Geneva, Tim Bergman of St. Charles, David Hunt of Wayne, Jay Cunningham and Steve Williamson of West Chicago, and Bob Boyd of Westmont.

Bass vocalists are Phil Nohl of Aurora, Douglas Peters of Batavia, Antonio Quaranta of Carol Stream, David Hartley of Lake in the Hills, Ernie Klapmeier and Michael Popplewell of North Aurora, Nate Coon of Palatine, Bradley Morrison of St. Charles, and Michael Thoms of Warrenville.

Tickets and Information

Single tickets for the May "Bouquet of Voices" concerts are $40 general adult admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at www.stcharlessingers.com or by calling (630) 513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability. Group discounts are available.

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