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Welcome to the 2015-2016 Season

We open this season on the road.  Our first concert will be Sunday, November 22 at 3:00 P.M. in the Basilica of St. Adalbert, corner of Fourth and Davis NW in Grand Rapids.  Entitled "Music for Sacred Spaces," the program will give us our first opportunity to sing in this wonderful, historic church.  Admission is free and open to the public.

On December 13 at 3:00 and 7:00 P.M. we will join the Motet Choir and the Chamber Orchestra of First Congregational Church of Muskegon for Cantatas I & III of J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio.  We will be joined by William Watson, who will sing the role of the Evangelist, Sabrina Laney Warren, soprano; Tracy Watson, mezzo-soprano; and Tom Clark, bass.  The church is located at 1201 Jefferson Street in Downtown Muskegon.


April 23 at 7:30 P.M. we will close the season at First Congregational Church of Muskegon with a look at Romantic composers.  The second half of the concert will be called "Noel and Cole," and feature the choir and its soloists in songs by Noel Coward and Cole Porter.


We look forward to seeing you.


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

We are starting our 51st year.  Highlight of last season was, of course, the 50th Anniversary Gala Concert and reception.  We took a step out of our comfort zone.  Some would say several steps.  The whole April concert was made up of music composed since we were founded.  That made it a stretch for all of us.  But that is how we grow as musicians.  What started out as a maze of complexity finally made sense and gave us a "new voice."  We are all thankful for that experience.

Additionally we re-instituted the Chamber Choir Vocal Scholarship program.  Some 2016 graduate of a Muskegon or North Ottawa County high school will win enough money to pay for a year's vocal lessons at the college or university of his or her choice.  The scholarship will be talent based, not need based.  High school senior choir members will be informed by their choir directors about the audition dates shortly after January 1, 2016.


What people say

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

On April 23 at 7:30 P.M. in Muskegon's First Congregational Church we will sing "The Romantics, plus Noel and Cole.  The Romantics will be Brahms and Schubert and Noel and Cole are pretty close to self-explanatory.  This part of the program will feature music of the Englishman, Noel Coward and the great American treasure, Cole Porter.  Between them they have furnished the world with sophisticated lyrics and great tunes.  We would like to claim originality for the idea of putting these two composers together, but it came from two of us who saw the idea in a news release about a concert in Florida several years ago.

In addition to our own soloists singing the Noel Coward songs, the program will feature an appearance by Michael Merz.  Michael, a senior at Western Michigan Christian High School, is the winner of the Choir's 2016 Wikman Scholarship.  This award, open to any high school senior in Muskegon, or north Ottawa County is structured to pay for one year of studio voice lessons at the college or university of the student's choice.  Congratulations, Michael!

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