The Chicago Artists Chorale to Present THE FROST VARIATIONS, 12/8

The Chicago Artists Chorale, a group of over 60 members from Chicago's professional arts community, kicks off its second season with a holiday concert on Dec. 8, entitled THE FROST VARIATIONS. The performance will be held at The Nettelhorst School, 3252 N. Broadway, at 7:30 p.m.

The chorale, conducted by founding Artistic Director Tom Vendafreddo, will present FROSTIANA: Seven Country Songs. Composed in 1959 by renowned composer Randall Thompson, the celebrated set of songs richly musicalizes the poetry of Robert Frost. The Chicago Artists Ensemble, a smaller group of singers led by Devin DeSantis, will also honor Thompson in the program's first half by singing his most popular choral work, "Alleluia," for unaccompanied choir.

The second half of the concert will showcase the lighter side of the "frosty tide" and will include familiar holiday songs originally performed by Peter, Paul and Mary, The Real Group, Straight No Chaser, and Pentatonix, among others.

"Throughout our first season, we found that eclectic programming was the key to engaging our audiences in a meaningful way. Our winter concert, THE FROST VARIATIONS, will be no exception," said Vendafreddo. "I can assure you that every person present on December 8 will leave having heard something they recognize as well as something brand new to them -- an outcome that I'm quickly discovering to be somewhat of a trademark for the Chicago Artists Chorale."

Associate Artistic Director Devin DeSantis notes, "Randall Thompson's 'Alleluia' has become a favorite for its quiet, introspective tone that slowly grows in excitement as the title word is repeated over and over. The piece evokes a sense of grandeur and other­worldliness that transports the listener to the halls of a cavernous cathedral."

The chorale formed last year after Vendafreddo determined that he and other area professional artists missed the choral singing experience. Many of the members have not sung in a choir sing high school or college. "There is something so inspiring about 60 individual singers giving themselves over to the power of the ensemble," he said.

The Chorale -- comprising musicians, actors, directors, stage managers, designers and other artistic professionals -- presented its second concert of its inaugural season last spring to an audience of more than 250 people at Chicago's Athenaeum Theatre. The group's Company Manager is Lauren Iezzi and General Manager is Stephen Schellhardt.

The Nettelhorst School is located in the city's Lakeview neighborhood. Tickets may be purchased online at for $25 and $10 for student/industry/child. Ticket prices go up $5 at the door. For more information, visit or email the chorale at


Tom Vendafreddo, Founding Artistic Director / Conductor

Tom has music directed, conducted and appeared on stage at many Chicago theatres including the Paramount Theatre, the Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, Writers Theatre, and the Bohemian Theatre Ensemble. His choral career began at age 8 with the Palatine Children's Chorus. Since then, he has literally traveled the world with countless choral groups. For a brief time, he was the conductor of the Northwest Choral Society and has conducted several church choirs in Rochester, NY and the Chicagoland area. Tom is a proud graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has an MFA in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University.

Devin DeSantis, Associate Artistic Director / Chicago Artists Ensemble Director

Devin discovered his love of music as a boy in the Colorado Children's Chorale. This incredible children's choir determined and continues to inspire everything he is as an artist and a person. He is a performer in Chicago where some of his favorite credits include Tommy in The Who's Tommy (Jeff Award Nomination) and Marius in Les Miserables (Jeff Award Nomination) at the Paramount Theatre, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein in Young Frankenstein at Drury Lane Theatre and Matthew in Altar Boyz Chicago. Devin is a proud graduate of Northwestern University's School of Music.

Stephen Schellhardt, General Manager

Stephen is a native of Chicago and credits his parents for his love of music and passion for the Performing Arts. He grew up singing with the Jubilate Children's Choir of Chicago and is thrilled to once again be surrounded by choral music. Some of Stephen's favorite credits include Edmund in the world­premiere musical Days Like Today at Writers Theatre, KoKo in Hot Mikado at Drury Lane Theatre (Joseph Jefferson Nomination), and the Emcee in Cabaret at the Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. He is currently the Casting Director and Producing Associate at Writers Theatre in Glencoe. Stephen received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Drama.

Lauren Lezzi, Company Manager

Lauren hails from Philadelphia, which is where her love for choral music began. She completed her Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the Eastman School of Music and her Master of Music degree from Rice University. Some of Lauren's favorite performances include Petra (A Little Night Music), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), the alto soloist in Mendelssohn's Elijah, as well as benefit concerts supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and an annual cabaret with her friends here in Chicago.

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