“The majestic sound of a symphonic chorus, performing masterpieces of the repertoire at the absolute peak of artistic achievement, is an unsurpassable experience for listeners,” says Larry Fuchsberg, freelance music critic and Director of Grants and Communications for the Minnesota Chorale. Larry’s superlatives apply to many local chorale groups in a region that values and promotes professional-level competence in the vocal arts. Here are six of the best.
528 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Handel’s “Messiah” and Mozart’s “Requiem” sing-alongs are just a few of the many community-interactive events the Minnesota Chorale is promoting this season. Despite being unable to perform with the Minnesota Orchestra for the 2012-2013 season due to the lockout, the Chorale is continuing with independent concerts, grant-supported education and community engagement programs. The Chorale is also maintaining the Minneapolis Youth Chorus, Voices of Experience and InChoir sessions as well as its award-winning Bridges program. As Minnesota Orchestra’s principal chorus, the Chorale strives to perform choral music at the highest level. In its 40-year history, it has premiered an impressive list of works by noted and emerging composers.
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Bach Society Of Minnesota
1043 Grand Ave, #229
St. Paul, MN 55105
Innovative programming and performing of Baroque music seems to be a contradiction, but the Bach Society of Minnesota does just that. With musicians who are knowledgeable and experienced in Baroque style, Paul Boehnke, artistic director, programs and presents concerts around compelling themes such as hunger, death, wives and even taxes. One can hardly wait for Bach’s Christmas Oratorio to be presented on December 7th and 8th. Look for more stimulating music in 2014 with programs “Bach and Jazz” (February) plus “Bach and Vivaldi” (March). Under Boehnke’s experienced guidance, the ensembles of the Bach Society, both instrumental and vocal, bring to life the music of J.S. Bach and his contemporaries in a way that is both true to the style and fresh for the listener. The Bach Society has been an interpreter of Bach’s music since its founding in 1932.
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The Rose Ensemble
75 West 5th St.
Landmark Center, Suite 314
St. Paul, MN 55102
Jordan Sramek, Founder/Artistic Director, chose to name the group for a flower. The rose, says Sramek, is an elemental symbol with near universal significance in both sacred and secular worlds throughout history. Sramek’s inspiration is a telling sign of The Rose Ensemble’s commitment to “preserving and performing sacred and secular early music, and especially our programmatic emphasis on exploring spirituality and the human experience through enlightening thought-provoking music and texts.” Since its founding in 1996, the group’s nine recordings and many concerts throughout the United States and Europe have garnered awards and evoked critical acclaim. With such a vigorous touring schedule this season, The Rose Ensemble is likely to be performing at a venue convenient to any Minnesotan.
The Singers—Minnesota Choral Artists
528 Hennepin Ave, Suite 303
Minneapolis, MN 55403
“Precision and craft with the highest vocal standards,” says MPR’s Steve Staruch. The Singers have entertained local audiences, produced seven recordings and premiered over 60 works in nine years. This tenth season is no exception with treasured chorale works and many new commissioned compositions. Visit The Singers website for venues of where to see “What Sweeter Music: Christmas Under the North Star” this holiday season followed by Mozart at St Mary’s Basilica, lamentations and meditations at St. Olaf and Nativity of Our Lord churches. Look for a season finale of new World Premiere works to be selected from a call that produced over 400 scores. The Founding Artistic Director and Conductor of The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists, educator/choirmaster Dr. Matthew Culloton is moving the Minnesota choral tradition forward with his leadership.
P.O. Box 16600
Minneapolis, MN 55416
Magnum Chorum’s 23rd concert season consists of four sacred music concerts at six venues. The choir appears at regional and national music conferences while it continues serving as choir in residence at Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park, MN. The 50-voice chamber choir has four earlier recordings and has recently released “Love Divine” (2009) and “With a Voice of Singing: The Music of Kenneth Jennings” (2012) under the direction of Christopher Aspaas.
Twin Cities Women’s Choir
1672 Mackubin St.
St. Paul, MN 55117
“One hundred fifty women on one stage make a pretty sensational sound,” says Choir staffer Erica Mauter. Certainly, their considerable aura will illuminate the darkness with song this winter season. Founded in 1997, The Twin Cities Women’s Choir invites all to this season’s Illuminations 2013 performance. Celebrate the return of light to our lives with an hour of music from many traditions honoring this transformational time of year. This non-auditioned choir invites any woman to open rehearsals twice per season, in September and in February, to join them in singing, performing and affirming the voices of women. TCWC makes challenging music look easy and they have a great time while doing it.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.