|Courtesy of Chicago a capella|
For the last two years, Chicago a capella [sic] ensemble brought together singers from across the Chicago area. And, as we wrote last month, Campanella Choir was one of the choirs invited to participate. Other choirs included Downers Grove based South Madrigal Singers, Chicago's Hubbard High School Advanced Ensemble and a capella's own interns.
The festival, which took place in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, in churches along Woodlawn Avenue, was made up of two parts. First, the participating choirs attended workshops at the First Unitarian Church. The workshops dealt with improving performance and enhancing vocal techniques. The final workshop, “Music Beyond High School” talked about how the choir members could continue utilizing their talents once they graduate. The workshop tried to be realistic without being discouraging, emphasizing that, while most of them probably wouldn't be able to make a living from singing, there are other ways to stay involved in the field that could be just as fulfilling.
After the workshops wrapped up, the choirs walked two blocks south, to the classically ornate Rockefeller Chapel, where they spent the next two hours preparing and rehearsing for the second part of the festival – the concert. At the concert, the choirs would take turns performing before coming together at the end as one single Festival Choir. Suffice to say, getting four different choirs who never worked together before to come together as one was no mean feat – but a capella artistic director Jonathan Miller made it look effortless.
The concert took place at the Rockefeller Chapel's main hall. Like the classical European cathedrals, it featured excellent acoustics that carried the performers' voices all across the long, tall space. Campanella's portion of the concert highlighted two recurring features of the choir's repertoire – it performed “Vere Languores Nostros,”a Eouropen classical piece by Antonio Lotti, and “Veniki,” a Russian folk song.
Campanella Artistic Director Marianna Kosaya was impressed with festival workshops.
“[a capella members] offered support, which helped [the kids'] musical development and their development as growing people,” she said.
The entire festival experience also helped them emotionally.”
“It increased their self-confidence,” said Kosaya. “They definitely got an emotional boost [from attending the festival]”
The fact that festival proved to be a great networking event didn't hurt, either.
“Head of a capella said he'd help us with fundraising,” said Kosaya. “He also offered educational support.”