Grande Prairie Choral Arts News & Events

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Grande Prairie Singers close season with Haydn and Mozart

What might seem like an unlikely pairing on the surface is actually a harmonious mix of composers.

Grande Prairie Singers close out their season May 17 with “Haydn and Mozart: Composers and Friends” at Flossmoor Community Church in Flossmoor in honor of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn. Michael Soto is the accompanist.

“Mozart was one of the most beloved composers probably of all time and, in many people’s minds, he’s the best composer that ever lived,” said Jo Rodenburg, artistic director of Grande Prairie Singers.
“Haydn was a contemporary of his, but he was older than him and he also produced a lot of music. But according to Mozart in the letters that he wrote and some of the things that his wife revealed, he thought very highly of Haydn and they performed at some venues together.

“Mozart claims that he learned a lot of what he knew from Haydn. It’s not that they hung around all the time, but they definitely held each other in high regard.”
Rodenburg, of Frankfort, is in her fifth season as choral director of approximately 50 members from hometowns including Flossmoor, Mokena and Orland Park. Rehearsals take place on Tuesday evenings at B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom in Homewood.

“They have improved every year,” she said. “I am just so proud of the work we do. They don’t mind rehearsing hard. They take everything about it very seriously and it shows. The chorus sounds beautiful. That’s the biggest achievement.”

New members are welcome and only need to be age 16 or older and comfortable reading music.
“They don’t have to be afraid to audition. I just want to hear what they do and what their skill is. We do a lot of teaching in chorus rehearsals,” said Rodenburg, who is also choir director at Trinity Lutheran Church in Tinley Park and teaches opera singers in the Fine Arts Building in Chicago.

“It’s a great bunch of people. We have a ton of fun. Everybody loves to make music. Some people go out afterward and they have social time after rehearsals. It’s like having another family, family that just loves to sing.”

Grande Prairie Singers also present Wine & Brew Revue from 2 to 5 p.m. May 31 at Grape & Grain Co., 18031 Dixie Highway, Homewood. Tickets for the fundraiser are $35 and include drinks, appetizers and live entertainment by members.

“All of the work that we do is totally funded by the organization. Nobody is giving us grants. It would be my dream to able to hire an orchestra for at least two concerts a year so you can hear exactly what the conductor intended,” Rodenburg said.

“We do depend on people giving so we can afford to do concerts.”

 

Trib Local

Southland College Prep Singers, Band to Perform with Grande Prairie Singers, Tracing History of Slavery in America, Sunday, March 9, 2014

RICHTON PARK, IL.–February 25, 2014—Southland College Prep Charter High School’s singers and band, some 100 performers strong, will be special guests at the Grande Prairie Singers’ concert,“ I Remember When the Stars Fell,” a musical journey through the history of slavery in America.

The concert, open to the public, is scheduled on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 4 p.m. in Faith United Protestant Church, 10 Hemlock Road, Park Forest. Advance tickets at $15 for adults; students $10 may be purchased by calling 708. 481.8684. Tickets at the door are $20 for adults and $10 for students.

Dr. Stirling Culp, Southland College Prep Charter High School’s Director of Music, will lead the school’s singers in a repertoire which he describes as, “gorgeous and stirring songs and spirituals from Africa that trace the triumph over horrific injustice and are sure to move and uplift the spirit of our audience.”

The Grande Prairie Singers and Southland’s band and singers will perform music of famous arrangers and composers of the early African-American repertoire, such as Moses Hogan, H.T. Burleigh, William Grant Still, Evelyn LaRue Pittman and André Thomas as well as contemporary selections.

Images and narration of the writings of escaped slaves, freed slaves, slave owners, and abolitionists will weave together the stories and music of the historic times.

Among the songs to be performed will be “Amazing Grace,” “Precious Lord,” “Way Over in Beulah Land,” and “ In Bright Mansions,” Culp said.  In addition to Culp, a tenor who will perform, other guest artists include sopranos Dorothy Canady and Kimberly Jones and Cornelius Johnson, tenor.

Joseph Lawrence will conduct Southland College Prep’s Band.

The Grande Prairie Singers, under the direction of Jo Rodenburg, are recognized as one of the region’s premier arts organizations. The Singers are heralded for their passion for the vocal arts and for breathing life into classic and modern masterworks of choral literature.

The group, which began in 1977 as the Park Forest Singers, draws voices from 28 suburbs and villages, whose ages range from 17 to 89. The Grande Prairie Singers, comprised of doctors, students, engineers, teachers, accountants and grandparents, gather weekly from across Chicago’s Southland community to perfect their craft and revel in each other’s love of choral music.

 

enews Park Forest

Southland College Prep Charter High School Singers and Band to Perform in Concert with Grande Prairie Singers, Tracing History of Slavery in America on March 9

Richton Park, IL.—(ENEWSPF)–February 26, 2014—Southland College Prep Charter High School’s singers and band, some 100 performers strong, will be special guests at the Grande Prairie Singers’ concert,“ I Remember When the Stars Fell,” a musical journey through the history of slavery in America.

The concert, open to the public, is scheduled on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at 4 p.m. in Faith United Protestant Church, 10 Hemlock Road, Park Forest.

Advance tickets at $15 for adults; students $10 may be purchased by calling 708. 481.8684. Tickets at the door are $20 for adults and $10 for students.

Dr. Stirling Culp, Southland College Prep Charter High School’s Director of Music, will lead the school’s singers in a repertoire which he describes as, “gorgeous and stirring songs and spirituals from Africa that trace the triumph over horrific injustice and are sure to move and uplift the spirit of our audience.”

The Grande Prairie Singers and Southland’s band and singers will perform music of famous arrangers and composers of the early African-American repertoire, such as Moses Hogan, H.T. Burleigh, William Grant Still, Evelyn LaRue Pittman and André Thomas as well as contemporary selections.

Images and narration of the writings of escaped slaves, freed slaves, slave owners, and abolitionists will weave together the stories and music of the historic times.

Among the songs to be performed will be “Amazing Grace,” “Precious Lord,” “Way Over in Beulah Land,” and “ In Bright Mansions,” Culp said.

In addition to Culp, a tenor who will perform, other guest artists include sopranos Dorothy Canady and Kimberly Jones and Cornelius Johnson, tenor.

Joseph Lawrence will conduct Southland College Prep’s Band.

The Grande Prairie Singers, under the direction of Jo Rodenburg, are recognized as one of the region’s premier arts organizations. The Singers are heralded for their passion for the vocal arts and for breathing life into classic and modern masterworks of choral literature.

The group, which began in 1977 as the Park Forest Singers, draws voices from 28 suburbs and villages, whose ages range from 17 to 89. The Grande Prairie Singers, comprised of doctors, students, engineers, teachers, accountants and grandparents, gather weekly from across Chicago’s Southland community to perfect their craft and revel in each other’s love of choral music.

 

enews Park Forest

Grande Prairie Choral Arts: From The Heart Of America

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- A Concert Celebrating Great American Music, performed by Grande Prairie Choral Arts, Sunday, May 15, 4 p.m. at Celebration Ministries (formerly Hope Lutheran Church) 424 Indianwood Dr., Park Forest. Enjoy a spring afternoon concert that showcases American music, beginning with Alice Parker’s moving and uplifting “Melodious Accord”, a
cantata based on shape-note tunes from 19th century New England accompanied by brass and harp. We then move forward in American history to Spirituals, play and party songs (think “Polly, Wolly Doodle) and songs of Aaron Copeland.

Put on your dancing shoes and join us! Call for tickets at 708.481.8684 (24 hr voicemail) or at the door.

 

Frankfort Patch

Frankfort Vocal Coach Brings New Energy to Grande Prairie Singers

Artistic director Jo Rodenburg heads into her second season with the choir, ready to make this 34-year-old musical group ‘a force in this area.’

Frankfort resident Jo Rodenburg has long and interesting ties to Grande Prairie Choral Arts. Years ago, when the group was known as the Park Forest Singers and had a stellar reputation for a community chorus, Rodenburg was a visiting soloist on many occasions.

From there she moved into the role of vocal coach for some of its members. Soon, a mutual friend introduced her to one of the group’s baritones, Tom Ziegler, whom she eventually married.

Fast forward a few decades. Rodenburg’s vocal coaching evolved into a highly regarded Chicago-based studio for emerging operatic talent.

“It’s mainly post-graduate voice majors who need polish and direction,” said Rodenburg, whose focus is to help them decide what it is each singer offers as an artist and what his or her goals are.

At the same time, she was aware that the recently renamed Grande Prairie Choral Arts group was struggling to find a director, as well as its role as a community chorus in the Southland. Yet the more she thought about it, the more she knew that the questions she asked her students were the same questions the choral group needed to address.

And Rodenburg thought she might have some answers.

“They needed to have the joy and pride of what they have to offer the audience. They had been a force in this area. They needed to have a vision for where they were going,” she said.

With only a two-year stint in conducting in a church setting (but a career in vocal performance), Rodenburg approached Grande Prairie Choral Arts about being its director. And they knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth. They
hired her, and things started looking up.

“I thought our first season together was a wonderful growing experience,” Rodenburg said.

Rob Calhoon, a Homewood resident and professional musician, currently serves as president of the board overseeing the choir, and he is excited about the new energy the Grande Prairie Singers have under her artistic leadership.

“Two of the great things about Jo is that she a great vocalist, but she’s also a great vocal teacher. The special way in which Jo teaches people how to use their voices has the singers energized again,” Calhoon said.

That energy is encouraging people to talk to former choir members about coming back and enticing new singers to join.

“When you sound good, you’re more likely to enjoy yourself,” Calhoon said.

The 2011-2012 season boasts an eclectic mix of music that should delight a wide variety of audience members. Rodenburg has selected Bach’s Magnificat with professional soloists for the Christmas concert Dec. 11 along with a “sampler platter” of holiday music. The Christmas concert also might include a few offerings from the soon-to-be-formed children’s choir for children in first through third grades. (This is Calhoon’s pet project; check the group’s website for audition details.)

The Romantics program on March 4, 2012, will feature Schubert’s Mass in G, as well as other selections by or in honor of German composers and their romantic music.

“We have some real rock stars in our men’s section,” Rodenburg said. “This will show them off.”

The final concert on May 20 will be a Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnett with additional soloists and a live bluegrass band, thanks to the artists at Down Home Guitars.