Jennifer Whiting joins the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale as Director of Music just as the country is emerging from the pandemic and our freedom to sing together is being restored. She says, "After a long absence from singing, we are eager to join our voices together, to hear the overtones in the room, to tune our chords and shape phrases—to make music! There is no better time to use our music to bring hope and beauty so desperately needed in the world today."
Jennifer earned a bachelor's degree in piano and English with a minor in art from Rockford College, a master's degree in choral conducting from Northern Illinois University, and a post-master's performer's certificate also from NIU. She has taught music courses and applied lessons at all levels from preschool through college, and has decades of experience directing auditioned and non-auditioned choirs.
Since 2014, she has served as the Director of Music at Gary United Methodist Church in Wheaton where she directs several choirs, oversees the music ministry, and leads the annual festival choir and orchestra.
Jennifer and her husband, Rob, live in West Dundee. Their two daughters are married and live close by. The family enjoys special occasions together with good food, board games, and grand-dogs. Jennifer also loves traveling, attending concerts, and wandering through the Art Institute.
She says, "I have always admired GEWC—their artistry, their ideals, and the joyful experiences they bring to the community. I am honored to help carry forward their great traditions and to lead them in new musical adventures."
J.M. (Mac) Willaert joined the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale in 2016, serving in the combined role of Accompanist and Ensemble Director.
Mac studied music at North Central College in Naperville (IL) and has worked extensively with Dr. Ramona Wis, founding director of the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale. His experience has included accompanying and working as a substitute director at Rosary High School in Aurora, as well as acting as assistant conductor of the choral program at North Central College, where he has directed a number of vocal ensembles. Mac currently works entirely as a director, pianist, and accompanist, primarily for the Chorale and Ensemble, but also for Oswego High School and Oswego Presbyterian Church, in addition to many opportunities outside the choral realm.
Mac takes great joy in the creative process, and working with the singers of the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale is one of his proudest accomplishments. Mac is recently married to his loving wife, Kristin,and they have settled in Naperville, Illinois, where they look forward to a long lifetime of music and joy.
The mission of the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale is to:
- Develop the musical abilities and awareness of its members.
- Provide participants and audiences with an enjoyable and creative outlet for their cultural needs.
- Serve as a reminder to the community of the beauty and universality of music in every sense.
The Chorale was founded in January 1985, with the goal of building a long and respected musical tradition in the community. Today, the Chorale includes 60 members from throughout the western suburbs of Chicago. The group consists of singers from the auditioning novice to professional-level singers performing a wide variety of music, including: jazz, gospel/spirituals, pop, larger works of choral music, sacred, folk, all-time favorites, and show tunes. We provide members the opportunity to strengthen their musical abilities and appreciation. Skills are enhanced through large group and sectional rehearsals. More advanced members have the opportunity to perform in ensembles or as soloists.
The Chorale presents both paid and free outreach concerts throughout the year as a culmination of its members' efforts to enhance the community's appreciation and love for a variety of music. Outreach concerts give special consideration to local retirement and nursing home facilities that may be underserved by other arts programs. Concerts have incorporated other community musical groups, including the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, the Wheaton Municipal Band, jazz and string ensembles, instrumental soloists, and other chorales, such as the internationally renowned Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus.
In addition to its twice-yearly community concerts, the Chorale has performed at Pheasant Run (with Kenny Rogers), the Oakbrook Marriott Hotel, Windsor Park Manor, Wyndemere Retirement Communities, Beacon Hill, Brighton Gardens, Wheaton Autumn Fest, Kane County Cougar baseball games and Brookfield Zoo's Holiday Magic. Community outreach concerts are performed at Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center, DuPage Convalescent Center, Hines VA Hospital, the Glen Ellyn and Wheaton Christmas Walks, and various community festivals and parades.
The Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale was incorporated as an Illinois non-profit in 1994 and is a tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Chorale is an auditioned community group with a target membership of 60 singers. The group is open to anyone who loves to sing and learn in an enjoyable, non-threatening environment; however, membership does require commitment to weekly rehearsals and two major concerts per year, as well as other special performances at select venues.
Rehearsals are held on Tuesday evenings from 7:30–9:30 p.m. The Chorale's season runs from September to June, with seasonal concerts in December and May. Concerts often incorporate other singing groups, jazz and string ensembles, and instrumental soloists. Music is drawn from a variety of seasonal, classical, and ethnic works.
The Ensemble is an audition-only group of individuals from the full Chorale who perform at our major concerts as well as smaller venue locations throughout the year. The Ensemble consists of 12 to 16 members in any given year. They rehearse on Tuesday evenings one hour prior to the full Chorale rehearsal time of 7:30–9:30 p.m.
Membership is open to all adults (18 years of age and over) regardless of area of residence. Specifically and explicitly, there shall be no barrier to membership based on age, sex, race, religion, or creed. Members come from a variety of backgrounds and musical experience.
Auditions for the Chorale are held in August and December for openings in specific voice parts. Auditions are held with the Music Director, who will conduct a short interview and vocal evaluation and placement.
Auditions for the Ensemble are usually held the second week into the session. The Ensemble Director will conduct the interviews/selections.
Interested in joining us? Watch our website for announcements regarding openings for specific voice parts and audition opportunities.