Collegiate Choir Concludes Tour with Home Concert

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –– The Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Choir will present a freewill concert at Second Presbyterian Church, 404 N. Prairie St., Bloomington, on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 8 p.m.

This concert is the final of 10 appearances the Choir will make during its 2019 spring concert tour. The itinerary includes performances in Michigan, Toronto and Montreal, Canada, New York, Ohio, and Illinois.

The Illinois Wesleyan 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 68-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. Members are selected by audition and maintain a rigorous rehearsal schedule in preparation for their concert tour and other engagements throughout the year.

The Choir, under the direction of Dr. J. Scott Ferguson, Director of Choral Activities at Illinois Wesleyan University, 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 first half of the program opens with selections from the 2018 IWU Christmas Choral Concert by John Tavener, G. P. da Palestrina, and Andrej Makor. Then follow two compositions that share textual similarities — the dramatic Domine Deus meus by Levente Gyngysi and an arrangement by Margo Klar of an Estonian runic song, Mu Sde rka les. The first half closes with two contrasting motets whose texts are expressions of praise — Meine Seele erhebt den Herrn, Op. 81, No. 1 by Heinrich von Herzogenberg and Lobet den Herrn, BWV 230, by J. S. Bach.

The second half of the program is devoted to American choral music composed, with one exception, in the 21st century. The first group of selections includes Reena Ismail's Tuttarana, Andrew Rindfleisch's To His Music, a memorial to the renowned choral conductor Robert Fountain, Judith Shatin's I Love (the 2018-19 Collegiate Choir commissioned work), and Allemande, the first movement of Caroline Shaw's Partita for 8 Voices. The program concludes with Hehlehlooyuh by James Furman, Angel Band arranged by Shawn Kirchner, and John Orfe's virtuosic Fire!