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Welcome to the 2014-2015 Season

This season opens later than usual.  We will join the West Michigan Symphony, Chamber Choir of Grand Rapids, and the Holland Chorale for a performance of Carl Orff's  Carmina Burana on Friday, November 21 at 7:30 P.M. in Muskegon's historic Frauenthal Theater, home of the Symphony.  Music Director Scott Speck will conduct.


Latest News

50th Anniversary Gala - Conductors Notes

Coming soon...

Has it really been 50 years?  Where have they gone?  Have we really made almost 200 appearances?  Where and when?

There are records that can back up all, or most of this, but they really don't matter in the end.  What matters is here we are, 50 years later, still doing it.  Gathering together as a group of talented people who share one common love; that of singing great choral music.  Over the years we have had some magnificent solo voices, Julie George, Sandra Whitaker, Gwen Bean, Vickie Luyendyk, Karen Culver, Joel Dulyea, and Dick Versalle for instance, but we still are pretty much the choristers who are amateur.  That's from the Latin amo, amare - love, or for the love of it.  We had better be doing it for love because the whole endeavor is pretty heavily fraught with non-profit.  The most exciting dimension of our current membership is that a number of the singers are younger, some much younger, than the choir itself.  That is a sign of health.


Samuel Lutheran Church was our first home.  I was choir Director there and the church loaned us room for rehearsals and performances for several years.  All told, we have had five different rehearsal venues.  It should be noted that we parted friends with all those who loaned us rehearsal space.  In our travels we have explored some of the acoustical and architectural gems of this area. We know how blessed we are to have churches that offer us their worship spaces in which to sing.  What some folks don't know is how many gems we have hereabouts.  We are going to keep using them as long as we are welcome and we hope our audiences find them all.  We really don't have a home.  Right now we are rehearsing at First Congregational Church and have given some concerts there.  We have sung concerts in over a dozen area churches.  We try to choose a venue that is appropriate to the music.  We've given a couple of Irish concerts at St. Mary's.  After all, it was once the Irish parish.  We have also sung Eighteenth Century Sacred in St. Mary's.  It has an acoustic to die for and after its renovation a while back, is simply beautiful.  In the same vein, we sang German Baroque in the (formerly) German Lutheran church and the Rachmaninoff Vespers in the most resonant space in town, St. Francis de Sales.  We have sung a program called  About Saints in St. Michael's church.  If you haven't been in that sanctuary, you've missed a hidden treasure in Muskegon.  First Presbyterian of Grand Haven annually surrounds our Wreath of Carols with its welcoming acoustic and helpful staff.  With its new chancel arrangement, First Congregational works well for our purposes also and happens to be the church home of thirteen of us.

Here's to the next 50 years.

David Wikman



This Past Year

Has been a long one.  It started in August of 2013 and ended May 10 of 2014.  We had a delightful time in the White Lake area doing clinics for singers and performing great sacred choruses with about fifty singers from all over the West Michigan area.  It was truly a treat to do the concert in the Montague Public Schools Performing Arts Center.  What a treasure that venue is.  Congratulations to the Montague Board of Education for conceiving  it and the community for supporting it.  Our annual Wreath of Carols found the Embellish Handbell Choir of Grand Rapids joining us.  What a treat they provided to the capacity crowd.  Stephen Foster comprised the whole of the March program.  We thought most of the pieces were Foster's standards and were surprised when some of the younger audience said that they had never heard two or three of them.  This made it worth doing.  The recently completed Choral Grab Bag was flat out fun for us.  We revisited music that had lain dormant in the library for a long time.  In truth, this concert was as much for us as it was the hearers.  Thanks to all of you for your support in 2013-2014.  We will see you at the Frauenthal on November 21.


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50th Anniversary Gala - Press release

Coming soon...

Our 50th Anniversary Gala Concert and reception will start at 7:00 P.M. in Muskegon's First Congregational Church, 1201 Jefferson Street.

The entire program will feature music composed since the founding of the choir.  While we are well-known for our interpretations of music of the 17th to 19 centuries, we have decided to honor the great choral traditions that have developed in the last thirty-five years of the past century and the first fifteen of the present one.  The United States and Canada, along with Scandinavia the Baltic countries, have led the way in a new and exciting choral vocabulary, and the choir will explore some of this literature.  The program will feature seven American, one Norwegian, and one Estonian composer.  One New Zealander has also found his way onto the program.  Among the pieces to be heard will be Musicks Empire by Lloyd Pfautsch, The Spheres by the thirty-six year old Norwegian, Ola Gjeilo, and O Nata Lux by Morten Lauridsen, a resident of the San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest.  Seven other choral pieces will round out the choir's portion of the program.  Some of the choir's soloists will lighten the program with musical theater pieces from shows that have opened since the choir's founding.  The soloists include Diane Goodman, Mariel Goodman, Shaundra Fairfield, Ginevra Naill, Cindy Twining, Tom Clark, Joel Dulyea, and Brennen Kartes.  All attending former choir members will be asked to join the present choir in a choral benediction at the concert's end.

First Congregational Church is completely handicap accessible.

Coming Up

2014-2015 will be the Chamber Choir's fiftieth season.  It has been a long journey, and like any journey, has had some rough patches.  But over the years it has remained a work of affection and good cheer for all concerned.  After the performance with the Symphony in November, the choir will launch into an exploration of music written after its founding, 1964.

The concert will be April 25, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. at First Congregational Church of Muskegon.  Composers represented on the program will include Ola Gjeilo, Morten Lauridsen, Egil Hovland, Eric Whitacre, Arvo Pärt, and Lloyd Pfautsch among others.  This is a stretch for the choir, which has centered its performances mainly in repertoire of the 18th and 19th Centuries, but it is new, interesting, and audience-friendly music.  American Musical Theater will occupy a part of the program also.  We were surprised to find out how many great musicals have been written since 1964.  It's a treasure trove.  A reception will follow the concert.

We are doing our best to contact all former members of the Chamber Choir so we can invite them to sing the final number on the program with us.  If you are a former member, or know one, please have them contact us so that we may be sure that we have addresses for as many of our alumni as possible.

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