It is high summer and there is much news from the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.
Auditions will be held on the evenings of Aug. 1 and 3 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2301 E. Court St. at First Avenue in Iowa City. Tenors and basses are especially needed, but all are welcome to apply. To schedule an audition, contact Barb Schanbacher at email@example.com. She will explain the process and help you set a time.
The Chamber Singers have been invited to join with the UI Choirs, the UI Symphony Orchestra, and choirs from Grinnell College, Kirkwood Community College, Cornell College and Coe College in a gala performance of Mahler’s “Symphony No. 2” at the opening concert in the new Hancher Auditorium on Sept. 28. Some readers will recall that this is the same work that was performed at the opening of the first Hancher, over four decades ago. After years of struggle following the floods of 2008, the new Hancher is complete and ready to open its doors. How fitting that this symphony is named “Resurrection.” The choruses are being prepared by David Puderbaugh and Timothy Stalter. The performance will be under the direction of William LaRue Jones.
The Second Symphony, though not as large as Mahler’s 8th, the “Symphony of a Thousand,” is a monumental work requiring the forces mentioned above. The orchestra is large, including seven timpani. The careful listener will notice that, though the piece is huge, a nuanced interpretation is possible wherein rumbling fortissimo sections are counterbalanced with heartrendingly exquisite pianissimo portions that shine through.
Because this extraordinary performance occurs so early in the concert season, rehearsals will begin earlier than usual, starting at 7 p.m. August 15.
On Dec. 11, the singers will perform Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols.” This is a well-loved and oft-performed piece that will be performed with harp. The Chamber Singers are just the right size of group to perform this piece with its ancient versus modern juxtapositions and solemn beauty.
Morten Lauridsen’s shimmering “Lux Aeterna” will help to warm and brighten the cold and darkness of winter on March 5.
The final concert on May 14 will feature two works by Mozart: “Coronation Mass” and “Vesperae solennes de Confessore.”
This season, Lindsey Bruner, an MA choral student at UI, will join the alto section of Chamber Singers, and will serve as assistant conductor. She will assist with sectionals, lead full rehearsals in Maestro David Puderbaugh’s absence, and will conduct portions of the December and March concerts.
Maestro Puderbaugh and the board of directors have initiated a pilot project this season, a “choir in a choir” that could provide more concert variety, outreach performances to clubs and organizations in the area, and greater visibility for the Chamber Singers overall. Of particular interest is the possibility of a performance in connection with the Shakespeare First Folio at the University of Iowa Library later in the year.
James Petersen sings with the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.