Former Chorus Members And Conductor Reunite for Concert in Omaha

Former Chorus Members And Conductor Reunite for Concert in Omaha

Enjoy the thrilling sounds of singers from the Omaha Symphonic Chorus and the Opera Omaha Chorus as they reunite for a celebratory concert, Together: A Reunion Concert, at St. Cecilia Cathedral, 701 N. 40th St., Omaha, NE, on Sunday, July 7 at 3pm. The concert is free. Friendships will be renewed, and former singing colleagues will be remembered in a special In Memoriam section of the concert. The program is brimming with reprises of favorite choral music that has been performed by these groups over the years. Cina Crisara, a former conductor of both groups, will bring these singers together for an exciting afternoon of celebration and remembrance. Crisara will be joined by Stacie Haneline, piano, Dana Sloan, organ, and members of Saint John's United Methodist Church, Austin, TX.

Crisara was the Chorus Master of Opera Omaha (1986- 2002), Artistic Director and Conductor of the Omaha Syphonic Chorus (1996-2002), and the Director of Choral Activities at UNO. After living in Omaha for 16 years, she moved to Austin, TX, returning to Omaha for the Opera season in 2003.

"I had the privilege of working with so many wonderful Omaha singers from UNO, and the Opera Omaha Chorus, and many years with the Omaha Symphonic Chorus. Lots of music, lots of personalities. Occasionally I would receive the news of the passing of one of these musician friends. And then another and another, and I would mourn the loss in a fairly solitary way, from Austin," said Crisara. "Last January, we lost a very good friend and chorister, Laurie Wilson. It was yet another friend whom I had not kept up with, but still remembered fondly. I could not go to her services, because ironically, I had an opera opening that night. This time, not being there hit me differently than any other time. I thought 'We all belong together again.'"

The seed for a reunion concert combining members from the groups she'd lead during her time in Omaha was planted. Both choruses have sung special concerts at Cathedral and many singers from the choirs have an affinity with that. Crisara couldn't imagine doing the concert any other place. "I called Br. William Woeger, F.S.C., and we came up with this July date," she added. "It took a lot of courage to decide to actually do it, and I could not be happier that so many of us will stand together to sing. We are indebted to Br. William. We made sure to do this concert on a weekend when he would be in town."

Crisara is currently the Chorus Master of Austin Opera, section leader and rehearsal conductor for the Conspirare Symphonic Choir, and works at Saint John's United Methodist Church in Austin, where she has been Director of Music since 2007. Crisara couldn't resist inviting her Saint John's choir members to share the experience, so 15 members of her current choir will join alumni and current members of the two Omaha choir groups. Many singers from the Omaha choirs are traveling to perform in the reunion concert.

After 17 years, Crisara is looking forward to seeing the singers and making music with them again. "The best part will be to see everyone renew friendships with their colleagues, telling hilarious stories of our shared pasts on the opera and concert stages," she said.

"The Opera and Symphonic Choruses have always enjoyed a great presence in Omaha. The tradition continues today," she added. "This program includes some favorite music that each chorus has offered its audiences over the years. Today this music is performed with even more heart and soul, as memories rush in, and friends are again standing with friends doing what they do best."

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