“It’s incredibly exciting,” says founding artistic director and conductor Cameron LaBarr. “We hoped the community would embrace this ensemble, but we were pleasantly shocked at the amount of support we received. The Cleveland community has become our home, and we would not have been able to get off the ground without the generous spirit of people in this region.”
Last December, the inaugural concert of the Tennessee Chamber Chorus was performed to a capacity audience at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland. The chorus will open its 2013 Christmas concert series at St. Luke’s on Sunday evening, likely to another packed house.
“Nearly 25 percent of our tickets for the Cleveland concert sold within the first three days of availability,” says LaBarr. There are still tickets available, but they are going fast, as demand for these concerts continues to grow.
Former Washington Post music critic and world-renowned composer Daniel Gawthrop attended the concert of the Tennessee Chamber Chorus in June and wrote in his review: “(The) concert by the Tennessee Chamber Chorus in Cleveland, Tenn., was only the second public perform-ance by this recently formed ensemble, but it demonstrated a cool professionalism and polished musicality which promises that we will be hearing lots more from this deeply impressive group … the 16 skilled singers of the TCC demonstrated that they could split the air with an electrifying fortissimo when called upon, or, at times, sweetly blend into a richly enveloping pianissimo like buttercream frosting licked from a spoon.
Both extremes, and everything in between, held a near-capacity audience in silent thrall until the ends of several thoughtfully chosen groupings of pieces brought opportunity for enthusiastic applause, culminating in a well-deserved standing ovation at the evening’s conclusion.”
Some of the singers will be coming from Tennessee — Cleveland, Knoxville, Johnson City, Nashville. Others will travel from Montreal, Texas, Georgia, Washington, Arkansas, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. Many of the singers also perform with other professional choruses across the country including the Manhattan Chorale, the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, the Yale Choral Artists and the Grammy award-winning Phoenix Chorale.
Sunday’s concert will include Benjamin Britten’s renowned work for chorus and harp, “A Ceremony of Carols.” Christa Wenger, a native of Maryville and music teacher at Normal Park Museum Magnet School in Chattanooga, will be the featured harpist throughout the concert. Also on the concert will be Medieval and Renaissance carols, carol arrangements by composer Alice Parker, a set of Scandinavian carols from Norway, Sweden, and Finland, and other beautiful choral works.
Additionally, Cleveland composer John Wykoff has composed a new work for the chorus, which will have its world premiere at St. Luke’s on Sunday evening. In addition to the unaccompanied works on the program, Mary Beth Wickes will accompany the chorus on the organ.
Singers include sopranos Julianna Emanski, Caitlin Hammon, Carly Wingfield, Rachel Cooke, Sara Kennedy and Susan LaBarr; altos Kaylee Gallagher, Kelsey Frost, Beth Gibbs, Lamprini Lindeman, Andrea Dismukes and David Stanley; tenors Lee Rose, Andrew Crane, Alan Stevens and Dirk Johnson; and basses Chris Oglesby, Daniel Elder, Shreyas Patel, Korre Foster.
The Tennessee Chamber Chorus is still in search of Founding Partners and concert underwriters for the organization. “Any individual who donates $300 or more to the Tennessee Chamber Chorus before Dec. 31 will be considered a Founding Partner,” LaBarr said. “It’s a great opportunity for those individuals who want to support the arts in our community. For businesses, it could be considered a sort-of permanent ad in our programs. These Founding Partners will be listed indefinitely in all of our concert programs and on our website. Concert underwriters have the opportunity to sponsor an entire concert, allowing for ticket sales revenue to propel the chorus into the next concert cycle.”
To date, the Tennessee Chamber Chorus has gathered 48 Founding Partners and some 61 financial supporters in all, most from Cleveland and the surrounding community.
The Tennessee Chamber Chorus will perform “A Ceremony of Carols,” a concert of Advent and Christmas Music from across the world on Dec. 15 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland; Dec. 16 at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Alcoa; and Dec. 17 at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Signal Mountain. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets, visit tennesseechamberchorus.org or call 417-343-8427 to reserve seats. Seating is limited.
For more information or to make a donation, visit the website or facebook.com/TennesseeChamberChorus.