BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The Collegiate Choir from Illinois Wesleyan University, which includes
Bloomington natives Andrew Johnson and Alex Rasmussen, will present a freewill concert
March 21 at 8 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church, 404 N. Prairie St., Bloomington.
This concert is the final stop of 10 appearances the choir will make during its 2017
spring concert tour. The tour itinerary includes performances in Indiana, Pennsylvania,
Connecticut, New York, Ohio and Illinois.
The Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Choir has established a long history of
excellence through its on-campus performances, annual tours and recordings. The choir
also sponsors the IWU Choral Commission Series, which in its 66-year history has added
many significant works to the choral repertoire and resulted in a number of important
world premieres at Illinois Wesleyan University.
The Collegiate Choir is composed of student musicians representing the School of Music
and other areas of the University, and is dedicated to the performance of the finest
sacred and secular choral music spanning six centuries and a variety of languages.
Students in the choir are selected by audition and maintain a rigorous rehearsal schedule
in preparation for their concert tour and other engagements throughout the year.
The choir is under the direction of J. Scott Ferguson, Director of Choral Activities
at Illinois Wesleyan. The Collegiate Choir has received acclaim for the “breath-taking
beauty and skill of the voices, the superb repertoire, and the awesome musicality.”
Programs have been called “wonderfully well-selected, versatile, interesting, and
musical.” An Estonian conductor praised the choir’s “clear intonation, beautiful and
sound harmony, multifarious strokes, and broad dynamic scale.” A renowned Czech conductor
noted, “I was overwhelmed by the great intonation, precise rhythm, beautiful work
with dynamics, and incredible stylistic interpretation of compositions from all style
periods and genres.”
This year’s tour program includes literature from the Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic
and Contemporary eras. The Choir will begin the first half of the program with Renaissance
motets by Hans Leo Hassler, Tomás Luis de Victoria, and Orlando di Lasso on texts
relating to the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Next follows Claviante Brilioso from Villarosa Sequences, a set of seven virtuosic pieces set to nonsense texts by the contemporary Swedish
composer Thomas Jennefelt. The first half of the program closes with J. S. Bach’s
monumental double choir motet Singet dem Herrn, BWV 225.
The choir will begin the second half of the program with selections spanning three
stylistic periods by William Billings, Johannes Brahms, and E. J. Moeran on texts
relating to the sea. Then follows the newest addition to the IWU Commission Series,
The Lark Above the Trenches by John Muehleisen, Anoj Pusej Dunojelio by Vaclovas Augustinas, and Lark by Aaron Copland. The program will conclude with Three Shakespeare Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams and In Praise of Apollo from A Nation of Cowslips by Dominick Argento.