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Rene Clausen

  • LOVE IS IN THE AIR: An Adventure in Eclecticism

    ECLECTIC: Selecting what seems best of various styles or ideas (

    Eclectic could well describe the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale's spring concert LOVE IS IN THE AIR. Let's just take a look at some of the wide-ranging musical selections you'll hear at this concert:

    The Cloths of Heaven—the Chorale's 2016 commission by composer René Clausen. This beautiful composition for choir and piano features Romantic harmonies, with a sweeping piano accompaniment, and sets the text of W.B. Yeats. You can view the Chorale singing this piece in its debut performance.

    Love Is Here to Stay—this Gershwin classic is given life by arranger Mark Hayes. You may know this song from the 1938 film The Goldwyn Follies.

    Yesterday—the classic from John Lennon and Paul McCartney, arranged for a capella choir by Bob Chilcott.

    Rainy Days and Mondays—directly from the Carpenters to you . . . by way of the arrangement of the late Steve Zegree.

    And then, to that eclectic mix of titles, add this: an intentional juxtaposition of two eras in one piece of music! Jazz pianist George Shearing has set the Shakespeare text Live with Me and Be My Love in a wonderful jazz setting for choir, piano, and string bass.

    So . . . safe to say that you're almost guaranteed to find something that will catch your fancy!

    In addition to our regular accompanist Mac Willaert, the Chorale will be joined by three talented instrumentalists who will bring their expertise to bear in this concert. Jeff Padgett and Marissa Webb will join on oboe and flute in the hauntingly beautiful Song to the Moon by Z. Randall Stroope. And throughout the concert, Hannah Novak plays string bass on some of those jazz pieces.

    The Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale presents LOVE IS IN THE AIR twice—Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m. Both concerts are at College Church in Wheaton. That weekend happens to be Mother's Day weekend. Why not make one of these concerts a gift for that special person? Tickets are available online by clicking the banner on this page.

    The entire Chorale joins me in hoping that we'll see you there!

  • LOVE IS IN THE AIR... and There's Lots of Music!

    Stack of music with flyer

    They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think the photo you see here says it all! For the singers in the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale, and for us who are directors, accompanists, and instrumentalists, this stack of music represents the many hours of rehearsal that have gone into preparing for our spring concert LOVE IS IN THE AIR. And yes . . . every piece you see in this picture will be heard in our concert—and actually a few more not pictured here that will be sung by our smaller Ensemble.

    See anything you like? We think there's something for just about everyone in this concert! Let me give you a brief tour of some of the highlights:

    Starting at the top left of the photo, it's George Gershwin's classic Love Is Here to Stay. Vintage 1930s jazz in a nice arrangement by Mark Hayes. That blue cover that's hiding just to the right of the Gershwin piece is a beautiful setting of the W.B. Yeats poem Down by the Sally Gardens. It's for the men of the Chorale, accompanied by piano and clarinet. And speaking of the poetry of Yeats . . . bottom center is René Clausen's The Cloths of Heaven, commissioned and debuted by the GEWC two years ago.

    Two pieces by Z. Randall Stroope represent some of the most beautiful choral writing in this concert. Song to the Moon is a setting for choir, piano, flute, and oboe. It evokes images of a lonely man or woman, asking the moon to go and tell their beloved of their true feelings. Go Lovely Rose sets the Edmund Waller poem that also seems to be speaking to an inanimate object—this time a rose—but is really aimed at the beloved.

    Moving a bit to the popular side of the program, you'll find titles such as Rainy Days and Mondays, the Beatles' classics Michelle, Yesterday, and Can't Buy Me Love (sung by the Ensemble). If you remember Elvis Presley crooning Can't Help Falling in Love, I think you'll enjoy the Chorale's rendition of that early 1960s hit.

    And as they say . . . "Wait! There's more!" But you'll have to hear it for yourself! Why not join us for an enjoyable afternoon or evening of love songs? Two concerts to choose from: Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m., or Saturday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m. Both concerts are at College Church in Wheaton (corner of Washington and Seminary). Tickets are available online. Just look for the info on this page and click on the banner.

    We'd love to have you in our audience!

    Greg Wheatley
    Music Director
    Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale