St. Charles Singers to Open 2016-17 Concert Season with MOZART JOURNEY XI

The St. Charles Singers has announced plans for its 33rd concert season, which opens October 15 with a new installment of the professional chamber choir's "Mozart Journey," its multiyear project to perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's complete sacred choral music.

The mixed-voice ensemble, conducted by founder and music director Jeffrey Hunt, will present three different concert programs during its 2016-2017 season: "Mozart Journey XI: Mannheim and Beyond" in mid-October; an all-new "Candlelight Carols" holiday program in early December; and an all-American program in early June, giving local concertgoers a preview of what the St. Charles Singers will perform on its concert tour in England later that month.

'Mozart Journey XI: Mannheim and Beyond' Oct. 15 and 16

For the eleventh and newest leg of its Mozart Journey initiative, the St. Charles Singers and Metropolis Chamber Orchestra will transport listeners to Mannheim, Germany, and other Mozart locales for a concert that includes Mozart sacred choral works that are rarely heard in concert settings, including the Kyrie in E-Flat Major, K. 322, a short piece Mozart wrote in 1778 during his stay in Mannheim.

The program for "Mozart Journey XI: Mannheim and Beyond," featuring a choir of 32 voices, also includes "Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento" in E-Flat Major K. 243, a rarity composed in Salzburg, Austria, for four soloists, chorus, and orchestra; and Missa solemnis in C Major, K. 337, a more mature work from 1780. "The Missa is somewhat better known than the other two works," choirmaster Hunt says, "but many listeners will likely be hearing it live for the first time."

This newest edition of the Mozart Journey series will take listeners on a brief hike into Haydn territory for the Symphony No. 1 of Franz Joseph Haydn, a contemporary whom Mozart knew and respected. The Haydn symphony shares much of the same instrumentation and orchestral colors of the Mozart works.

A preconcert lecture by Wheaton College Professor of Music Jonathan Saylor will begin an hour before each Mozart Journey performance.

The St. Charles Singers will present "Mozart Journey XI" at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles; and at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 16, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 397 Fulton St., Elgin.

'Candlelight Carols' Dec. 2, 3, and 4

The St. Charles Singers will gift wrap a colorful new array of more than 20 songs for its annual "Candlelight Carols" Christmas program, a holiday concert tradition for the choir since its founding in 1984.

Among many other works new to the ensemble's repertoire will be a set of songs by Scandinavian composers, including Gunnar Eriksson's "Norwegian Lullaby"; Ola Gjeilo's "Ubi Caritas" with piano improvisation; and Anders Orhwall's "Brudmarsch fran Jamtland" for choir, flute, and double bass and "Fabodpsalm fran Dalarna" for choir and flute.

A group of songs honoring the late, great English choral composer David Willcocks will include John Rutter's "Rejoice and Sing" and Bob Chillcott's "There is No Rose," both new to the St. Charles Singers, and Willcocks's own "Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day" and "Come All Ye Faithful."

Women's voices alone will be heard in Patrick Hadley's "I Sing of a Maiden," while men will take the spotlight for Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria," a carol popularized by the all-male choir Chanticleer.

The St. Charles Singers will perform "Candlelight Carols" at 7:30 pm on Friday, December 2, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles; 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago; and 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 4, at Baker Church in St. Charles.

'American Reflections' June 3 and 4

St. Charles Singers will perform songs that Hunt says "mirror and speak to our national spirit" in its "American Reflections" concerts, which will conclude the choir's subscription concert season.

Music will include Dominick Argento's "Walden Pond," from 1996, a sublime five-song cycle for chorus, three cellos, and harp; and works of other great American choral composers and arrangers including James Erb, Stacy Gibbs, Howard Helvey, Craig Hella Johnson, Shawn Kirchner, Morten Lauridsen, Norman Luboff, Alice Parker, Jake Runestad, Randall Thompson, and Eric Whiteacre. Audiences will also hear selections from the St. Charles Singers' critically acclaimed 2016 album "Bushes & Briars: Folk-Songs for Choirs Books 1 & 2" (MSR Classics).

Concertgoers can bask in "American Reflections" at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 3, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 4, at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division Street, River Forest, Ill.

Off to England June 12

The St. Charles Singers will perform the same American program on its June concert tour of England at Windsor Parish Church, Windsor; St. James's Church, Piccadilly, London; Great St. Mary's Church, Cambridge; Lincoln Cathedral Chapter House, Lincoln; Ripon Cathedral, Ripon; and Durham Cathedral, Durham. The choir leaves for England June 12 and returns home June 23.

Travel packages are available for choral music enthusiasts who'd like to accompany the St. Charles Singers on their English tour and attend the concerts. For information, contact Steve Wright,, 630-513-5272.

Single tickets for each of St. Charles Singers' 2016-2017 concerts are $35 adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.

Season subscriptions to all three concerts are available at a 20 percent discount from single-ticket prices through September 30, 2016.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at 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.

Founded and directed by Jeffrey Hunt, the St. Charles Singers is a professional chamber choir dedicated to choral music in all its forms. The mixed-voice choir launched in St. Charles in 1984 as the Mostly MadrigalSingers. calls the ensemble "one of North America's outstanding choirs," citing "charisma and top-notch musicianship" that "bring character and excitement to each piece."

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