Chamber Singers of Iowa City

The Chamber Singers of Iowa City will present an outstanding afternoon of choral music with organ and brass on Nov. 16. titled “Polychoral Splendor.” The concert will feature music from multiple choirs from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

Beginning with Gabrielli’s “O magnum mysterium” and concluding with Randall Thompson’s “Ye Shall Have a Song” from his glorious work, “The Peaceable Kingdom,” the Singers and maestro David Puderbaugh, music director, will lead concert-goers on a choral pilgrimage that few choruses would attempt in a single concert.

In recent columns, we’ve written about Giovanni Gabrieli’s “Hodie Christus natus est,” Jacobus Gallus’ “Alleluia” and “Pater noster,” and Mozart’s “Venite populi.” We herewith continue.

Heinrich Schütz’s “Jauchzet dem Herren (SWV 36)” is one of the finest works of the German Baroque period, an era of outstanding music. His fugue work is extraordinary, and this version of Psalm 100 is as joyous and thrilling as that other German fellow’s.

Josef Rheinberger’s business card could have read, “If you need it, I can write it!” His compositions include a cello sonata, a set of Advent motets, 24 fugues, reams of organ concertos and sonatas for seemingly every instrument to that time. The Singers will perform the “Kyrie” and “Agnus dei” movements from his “Mass in E-flat Major, Op. 109, Cantus Missae.”

Benjamin Britten’s “A Hymn to the Virgin” is a standout bijou of a masterpiece among his many choral works. This hymn holds great drama and a deep mysticism despite its short length. Britten achieves this through antiphonal use of chorus and soloists with one group singing in medieval English, the other answering in Latin. Phrases rise and fall like Gregorian chant, resonating triumphantly or falling to near silence, always with surprising intensity. Soloists include Nancy Bell, soprano; Hillary Foster, alto; Brien Hemann, tenor; and Joshua Atcher, baritone.

Felix Mendelssohn’s “Sechs Sprüche, Opus 79″ follows the church year with its eponymous sections beginning with Christmas: Weihnachten, Am Neujahrstage, Am Himmelsfahrtstage, In der Passionzeit, Im Advent, und Am Karfreitag. Soloists include Kristen Eisenhammer, soprano; Mackenzie DeRoo, alto; Richard Hanson, tenor; and Alexander Weaver, baritone.

Word that two works from Randall Thompson’s “The Peaceable Kingdom” would conclude this concert was greeted with great joy by the Singers. To say it is well known and greatly loved is to make one of the greatest understatements in all of choral music. “Have Ye Not known,” and “Ye Shall Have a Song” top nearly anybody’s list of favorites. Suffice it to say here that if you have never heard these two pieces, you will be amazed. If you have heard them, you will be doubly amazed by this performance.

The Chamber Singers of Iowa City will present “Polychoral Splendor” at 3 p.m. Nov. 16 at First United Methodist Church, 214 E. Jefferson St. in Iowa City. Sunday parking will be effect, which includes the non-metered side of Jefferson St. Parking also is available below the University of Iowa Business School just across Clinton Street, but please come early.

James Petersen sings with the Chamber Singers of Iowa City and the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre.

2014-2015 Season Announcement!

October 10 2014 - In: General

Polychoral Splendor

Sunday, November 16, 3:00 p.m.

First United Methodist Church

214 East Jefferson Street, Iowa City

Our season kicks off with the sumptuousness of polychoral music, with its thrilling musical dialogue between multiple choirs. The church will ring with the chorus, organ and brass music of Giovanni Gabrieli to the present, including “Ye Shall Have a Song,” the radiant double-choir finale to Randall Thompson’s The Peaceable Kingdom.


Sunday, February 15, 3:00 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church

2701 Rochester Avenue, Iowa City

Vi·gnette /vin-‘yet/: A brief evocative description, account, or episode.

How does one evocatively describe a scene, a moment, even a thought through music? Our second concert explores how composers from different lands and times choose to convey musically such ideas as the seasons, day and night, freedom, love, and faith.  These vignettes bear commonalities within themselves, yet within them each piece is unique—a snapshot of its creator’s time, place, and personality.

George Frideric Handel: Judas Maccabaeus

Saturday, April 25, 7:00 p.m.

Iowa City West High School Auditorium

2901 Melrose Avenue, Iowa City

The season ends in rousing fashion with a full performance of Handel’s triumphant oratorio on the story of Judas Maccabee, the Jewish leader who freed his people from foreign domination in the second century BCE.  Chorus, soloists, and orchestra join forces for this monumental work, which includes such favorites as “See! The conqu’ring hero comes,” “Arm, arm, ye brave,” and “Hallelujah! Amen!” This performance, open to the public, is the grand finale of the national conference of the American Handel Society. Don’t miss this unforgettable performance!

A Note from the Music Director

October 10 2014 - In: General

One of things that make Iowa City such a special place to live is the community’s interest in and dedication to the arts. For a long time, I’ve considered myself lucky to experience that, not only in my work at The University of Iowa but also through my connection to Chamber Singers of Iowa City. The singers of this ensemble—your friends, family members, and neighbors—put in countless hours of rehearsal, together and singly, to present sublime music to the public. For years, we have been rewarded by large and engaged audiences; we do not take that for granted, and we are thankful for it. We are thankful for you, our patrons, who support us financially from year to year. With your help, we will continue to bring the finest music to the stage, contributing in a meaningful way to the cultural fabric of our beloved community.

See you in the seats!

David Puderbaugh

Amazon Smile

July 27 2014 - In: General

Did you know when you shop at Amazon you can now donate 0.5% of your purchase to Chamber Singers of Iowa City? The program is called AmazonSmile. It only takes a couple of minutes to sign up and you can shop through your existing Amazon account.  Go to to support Chamber Singers!



  • November 16, 2014 – Polychoral Splendor
    3:00 pm, Concert
  • February 15, 2015 – Vignettes
    3:00 pm, Concert
  • April 25, 2015 – George Frideric Handel: Judas Maccabaeus
    7:00 pm, Concert

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