On November 22, Choral Arts Cleveland launched its 2015-2016 season with Handel’s rousing oratorio, Judah Maccabaeus, telling the tale of the Maccabean Revolt (167-160 BC). The Jewish festival of Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the temple after the successful end to the conflict. The 60-member chorus was joined by a wonderful chamber orchestra and splendid soloists in this first concert in our new venue.
Choral Arts has long made its home in Cleveland Heights rehearsing and performing at Grace Lutheran Church, but when the church was recently sold we had to find a new venue. We were lucky. The truck was loaded and the driver given directions to one church when that church informed us that they would not be able to accommodate our group after all. Fortunately, Disciples Church on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights opened its doors to us and we were able to move in and set up just in time for our first rehearsal. We are now comfortably ensconced in a large practice room and are hard at work preparing for our second program in the exciting 2015-2016 concert season.
On March 6, 2016, we will present an evening of a cappella music including Gregorian Chant; music by the Franco-Flemish, Renaissance master of choral music, Orlando di Lasso; and work by 20th century French composer, Francis Poulenc.
Our final concert, scheduled for May 22, 2016, is titled “Chiaroscuro–Light and Shadow–Bodies and Voices in Motion.” The concert will include James Whitbourn’s “Luminosity,” which NPR described as “a celebration of that light — peaceful, radiant and clear.” That performance will include local dancers and professional instrumentalists. We will also perform Grammy Winner, Eric Whitacre’s, “Lux Aurumque” (Light of Gold). Finally, we will perform Morten Lauridsen’s, “Lux Aeterna,” a five movement piece dealing with light which Mr. Lauridsen described as a “very complicated [piece] when one starts to peel it, especially in the contrapuntal sense, and yet the immediacy is there for the listener to respond to.”
In addition to settling into our new home and diligently preparing for our concert series, Choral Arts is actively working toward expanding our outreach in the community, touching more listeners and attracting more singers. Using funds from a Cuyahoga Arts & Culture grant, we have hired an outside consultant, Janus Small, to help us reformulate our mission, vision, values, and organizational structure to prepare for the next 40 years of singing. Ms. Small has over 30 years of experience in non-profit management and planning, and is on faculty at John Carroll University. We will work closely with Ms. Small to recruit and retain both singing members and board members and focus our resources on bringing our message of music, beauty, and joy to the Cleveland area.
Choral Arts Cleveland rehearses on Sunday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 9:15 p.m.