Saturday, March 21, 2015

New York New York

The long anticipated tour to Carnegie Hall in New York City is nearly here.  April 8 thirty-one singers and their supporters will depart Grand Rapids at 6:00 am.  Once there vocalists will mass with a national choir of 250 voices and full orchestra under the direction Trey Jacobs of New York City Choirs of Distinction to rehearse before performing Dona Nobis Pacem on the Carnegie stage Sunday, April 12.

Since January Itasca Community Chorus has been rehearsing not only Ralph Vaughan Williams' Prayer for Peace (Dona Nobis Pacem), but also Broadway hits from Mama Mia, Wicked, and Hairspray as well as the title piece "New York New York."

April 26 at 4:00 pm. the full choir will present all of the above at the historic auditorium in Greenway.  In keeping with their mission, Itasca Choral Society has obtained assistance from Lake Country Power, held a Soup'r Good fundraiser, and obtained an ARAC grant to keep tickets very affordable.  Student, active military, and veteran tickets are complementary and all others are $10.  Tickets are available from chorus members, on Facebook, and at the door.

Following the concert is a reception at which returned Carnegie singers will share their experience.

New York New York is funded in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, thanks to appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature’s general and arts and cultural heritage funds.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

New York New York!

Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 6:30 pm at Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, Itasca Community Chorus starts the countdown for our tour to Carnegie Hall April 8-16, 2015.  When we began this process in May, little did we realize how quickly the time would fly.

In addition to the Ralph Vaughan Williams' arrangement of Dona Nobis Pacem, which those on tour will sing with the national mass choir of 250 voices with full orchestra on the Carnegie stage, April 12, the full chorus will be singing a number of Broadway tunes.  Director Sam Evans rattled these off for us last Tuesday evening at the Magnum viewing gathering, but to see them for yourselves, we'll need you to come a little early to sign out music for the April 25th? concert at Greenway Auditorium in Coleraine.

We're especially looking for tenors and basses so if you think you'd like to sing, try us out.  We have experts to help everyone sound better than you ever thought you could.  And the fun you'll have as you practice and socialize with members of Itasca Community Chorus.

For more details email Sam:  Itasca Community

Thursday, November 13, 2014

O, Magnum Mysterium

Here's your chance.  You too can roll up all the darkness in life, squeeze it into a ball until it melds into new relationships, and feel it emanate bright, peaceful rays.  Join the Itasca Community Chorus in concert Nov. 30 at 4:00 pm at the Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids. "O, Magnum Mysterium"  explores the mystery of the advent season in classic and contemporary choral compositions from Lauridsen, John Rutter, and Paul Christianeon among others.

Morten Lauridsen's "O, Magnum Mysterium"  was composed for the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The arrangement sets the ancient Latin text meaning "O, Great Mystery" against the contemporary dissonant chords. Those dense chords then give way to a rising line of awe as the animals contemplate the birth of a new babe in their midst. 

Lauridsen is in the business of building relationships.  For this number he juxtaposes the poverty and filth of the stable with the richness and wonder of the Christmas season. These bursts of light and peace exploding out of darkness are becoming Lauridsen's trademark.  Perhaps this goes back to his early years when he saw many dawns from forest towers.  Then there's his impassioned reading of poetry, his contemplation of great works of art, and his fascination with connectivity.  

Collaborating is the Itasca Brass with some special new arrangements from tuba player Phil Kneeland.  Other members of the quintet are Deena Skaja, French horn; Make Wourms and Sander Grotjohn, trumpet; and Tom Patnaude, trombone.

 $8.00 adult tickets are available from chorus members or at the door.  Veterans are free as are student tickets, courtesy of an Operation Round-Up grant from Lake Country Power.

Sunday, Nov. 30 4 pm Reif Center Grand Rapids.  May the light come out of the darkness for all.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sing Your Way Home

Itasca Community Chorus invites all serious singers to join the choir Tuesday, Sept. 2 6:15 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids, MN.

Artistic Director Sam Evans reminds, "Never louder than beautiful!"

Step out of your comfort zone (or maybe into it)!  Join a great group of singers for a lot of fun and concentrated singing as Itasca Community Chorus strives to produce the best choral music available. If you’re serious about making beautiful sound, camaraderie and have time, Itasca Community Chorus resumes rehearsals Tuesday evening, September 2 at Zion Lutheran Church in Grand Rapids. 

Committed to making quality choral music accessible to all, Itasca Community Choir is open to all serious singers, teenage through adult.  Artistic Director Sam Evans, Concordia Moorhead music graduate, and accompanist Stuart Boehr bring their rich imaginations and considerable expert experience to helping each singer do his/her best.  Soloists are generally chosen from within the choir and rank amateurs sing next to seasoned professionals.

The fall semester features a combination of familiar and new Christmas selections.  Google Morten Lauridsen’s  Oh Magnum Mysterium for a taste of how you too could sound in concert with Itasca Community Chorus.  At the other end of the spectrum is Ben Allaway’s  “Freedom Come”  and,  of course,  in between are the familiar Christmas melodies set in new and refreshing choral arrangements. 
Collaborating in concert with Itasca Community Chorus on Nov. 30 at the Reif is the Itasca Brass. 

Spring semester focuses on Vaughn Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem , the selection Itasca Community Chorus members will sing in collaboration with other choirs from around the nation at Carnegie Hall in New York City, April 2015.  You too could sing on the Carnegies stage next spring. Details and itinerary are available from artistic director Sam Evans at 

Still thinking it through?  If you missed Prayer of the Children or Wanting Memories last year, contact artistic director Sam Evans or call ICTV to determine when the performances will air again.  

Better yet begin singing with Itasca Community Chorus Tuesday evening, Sept. 2 from 6:15-8:30 at Zion Lutheran Church, 2901 Highway 169S, Grand Rapids, MN. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

New York City Here We Come/ or Not!

Distinguished Concerts International New York City (DCINY) announced May 23, 2014 that Director Sam Evans and the Itasca Community Chorus have been invited to participate in a performance of Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem on the DCINY Concert Series in New York City.  This performance is planned to take place on Sunday, April 12, 2015 at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium.  These outstanding musicians will join with other choristers to form the Distinguished Concert Singers International, a choir of distinction.
So show up at the Zion choir room, Thursday, June 26 at 6:00 pm to make your first payment of $300 and vote on which Broadway show we'll see. 

How exciting is that!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tribute to Veterans Hardly Begun

After after after. . . . Always the feeling of letdown, especially after a superb performance like yesterday's Prayer of the Children. So many worked so hard and so long to bring The Prayer of the Children together. So here are the kudos for all.

But in truth, it's hardly begun.  The historical display has migrated to Central Square Mall where more people can see the work and pay tribute to those veterans who've served the USA from WWII to the present.  At the end of the week, it will move again to Itasca County Courthouse.

The reception remainders moved to Grace House last evening where the homeless can enjoy the treats. 

ICTV has sent a press release alerting area media to Veteran Day activities.  Among the activities is viewing of the concert and the interfaced veteran interviews.Tron was busy editing the coverage this afternoon.

The congratulatory letters are arriving, the professionals are reviewing the performance for the grantees, the grant reports are in the process of being completed, and choir members are wondering what they'll do without the wonderful music and activity of the past 20 weeks.  And the invoices are coming in. . . .

Plans are coming together for fall including a collaboration with the The Great Northern Union, Oct. 3rd at the Reif.  The fall concert will center on a holiday theme so until September, fill your Tuesday nights with good memories and all the other good things in your life, choir members.  If you're missing the music, call ICTV next week and order a DVD of the concert. 

And please do keep The Prayer of the Children in your hearts and minds. 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Veteran Tribute Concert--May 18th

The Prayer of the Children concert coming up Sunday, May 18th at the Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids, MN is one of the best examples of collaboration in the area.  Partially funded by an IRRRB Culture and Tourism grant, this quality choral presentation was inspired by Director Sam Evans’ realization that WWII veterans are leaving us without having told their stories, without having instilled in us the values they fought so valiantly to preserve. 

Included in the presentation are clips from interviews Sam did with local veterans—WWII to the present.  Taped and edited by ICTV, these will be beamed on the wings of the Reif. Eighty square feet of Itasca Historical Society display board, including the Naval plank and full dress uniforms greet you as you enter the Reif. The concert itself is10 quality choral numbers, two of which include the Deer River Middle School Honors choir. Following the concert, enjoy a light snack and visit with the interviewees and singers.
This is not a na├»ve performance.  It acknowledges the hardship of war from the start. “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye,” based on an Irish folk tune sets the heart thrumming with the sound of guns and drums while the female narrator works through the process of how she can accept and love Johnny, who abandoned her and the unborn child and now returns with no gentle look in his eye nor dance in his heart.  In fact, he has no  legs with which to run.

The title piece “Prayer of the Children” is best explained by its composer Kurt Bestor:

Every number is equally powerful in its own way.  Capitalizing on his superb training by Concordia’s reknown director Rene Clausen, Sam has tuned this chorus of high school vocalists to octogenerians to a fine resonance that works the heart and soul through all the nuances of hope and grief over what war does to us all.  The accompanists Stuart Boehr, Maria Annoni, Deena Skaja, and Loren Squires are equally well-trained and sensitive musicians who almost instinctively respond to the shaping of sound to support the choral lyrics and musical score. 

And best of all—this concert is a gratitude concert to and for community.  Adult tickets are only $8 at the door; student tickets are free (courtesy of a Lake Country RoundUp grant) and veterans tickets are free (courtesy of the the Itasca Community Choir’s fundraising).  

The excitement is building and nearly everyone I talk with about this concert has a story to share.  Please come and join this community event.