Collegiate Choir to Cap Tour with Home Concert

The Collegiate Choir has a long history of excellence.

Feb. 21, 2017

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.