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Director's Notes

Greg Wheatley, Musical Director of the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale, shares his thoughts about past and future concerts, musical works we've performed, and the many joys of choral music.

Love Is in the Air--An Adventure in Eclecticism

ECLECTIC: selecting what seems best of various styles or ideas (Vocabulary.com)

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 pm, and Saturday, May 12 at 3:00 pm. 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!

Eric Whitacre's "A Boy and a Girl"

For this blog, I hand the pen to my colleague Mac Willaert. Mac is the very capable director of the Chorale's Ensemble. In this blog, Mac talks about his favorite selection from the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale's upcoming concert, LOVE IS IN THE AIR.


One of the most truly human experiences in our brief lifetimes on this earth is grappling with our own mortality. That may seem a grim opening to a Director's Note for a concert entitled LOVE IS IN THE AIR, but with that pain and sadness also comes great beauty and love—after all, if our time on this earth was not limited, would we be so inclined to say how we feel, to take that chance, to reach towards that which we long for? Our fleeting time imbues us with the urgency that lies at the foundation of almost every beautiful moment, and it is that essence which lies at the heart of one of my all-time favorite choral pieces, A Boy and a Girl.

Any choral aficionados, or even past guests of the Chorale, will recognize the name of Eric Whitacre, who is certainly among the most popular current composers, if not the most popular current composer. In this particular piece, Whitacre takes a gorgeous, haunting poem by Octavio Paz and sets it to one of his finest customary blends of painful dissonances and soul-stirring resolutions. As a composer, this is quite frequently his weapon of choice (to the point where he is even known to poke fun at himself for it): he creates textures so layered that they almost form a wave of sound designed specifically to tug at your heartstrings, only to keep you yearning until the last moment for the voices to resolve in an outpouring of musical emotion. Working with a text like this, it is easy to see why Whitacre felt his particular brand was a fit:

Stretched out on the grass
a boy and a girl.
Savoring their oranges,
giving their kisses like waves exchanging foam.

Stretched out on the beach,
a boy and a girl.
Savoring their limes,
giving their kisses like clouds exchanging foam.

Stretched out underground,
a boy and a girl.
Saying nothing, never kissing,
giving silence for silence.

Whitacre's unique ability to channel emotion through music is put to particular effect as he takes us on the journey of this couple, from their first date to their final resting place, side by side. It is simultaneously heartbreaking and yet vastly moving to know this nameless couple's time has come and gone, and yet they are side by side for eternity. That is love, and that is, to me, the human essence; to know our time is fleeting, and in spite of that, to live and love as fiercely as we can. Whitacre himself said:

I'm often asked which of my compositions is my favorite. I don't really have one that I love more than the others, but I do feel that the four measures that musically paint the text "never kissing" may be the truest notes I've ever written.

I am hard pressed to disagree.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR will be performed 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. Please click on the banner on this page for more information.

Song to the Moon

What is it about the moon? This mysterious light in our night sky has fascinated us as long ago as history has been recorded. It's been the object of everything from poetry to scientific exploration. Sometimes we like to attribute human characteristics to the moon. Remember this little verse from your childhood?

I see the moon and the moon sees me.
God bless the moon and God bless me.

Before you wonder what this blog is all about . . . no, the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale hasn't turned into an astronomy club! And yes . . . we're still rehearsing a concert of love songs—LOVE IS IN THE AIR. But I do want to tell you about one of those love songs, and it has a lot to do with the moon.

Z. Randall Stroope has written an exquisite piece that sets the text of little-known Czech poet Jaroslav Kvapil (1868-1950). This text was actually incorporated into Antonin Dvorak's opera Rusalka. Stroope—whose name you may remember from the Chorale's Christmas concerts as the composer of This Endris Night—has paraphrased Kvapil's text:

La luna, your light sees through endless time,
Tell, O tell me, where my love lies.
O moon, e'er you pass, wake my dreaming lover.
I am waiting, I am calling.
Tell him come. Tell him, O moon.
Moon, help him. Help him remember and dream of me.
Tell him, O tell him who is waiting, who is longing!
I am waiting, longing!
Tell him come. Tell him, O moon.

The setting of this poem is Stroope at his finest. To the choir and piano, he has added the longing sounds of flute and oboe. He adds to this the recurring phrase la luna, set to musical intervals that cause the listener to feel the sadness of a missing love.

Without doubt, Song to the Moon is one of the more challenging pieces to prepare. But the challenge is one that pays off in an evocative setting of a beautiful text. We think you'll agree!

Song to the Moon is just one of many selections you'll be treated to when you attend one of the Chorale's LOVE IS IN THE AIR concerts. And there's some lighter fare as well! Songs like Rainy Days and Mondays, Love Is Here to Stay, and others.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR will be performed 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. Please click on the banner on this page for more information.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

Live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
And all the craggy mountains yields.
— William Shakespeare (?)

Go, lovely rose—
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be.
— Edmund Waller

Michelle, ma belle, sont des mots qui vout très bien ensemble.
— John Lennon

Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.
— Charlie Brown

Ah love! From the bard Shakespeare himself to the likes of the hapless Charlie Brown, love has been the theme of countless poems, stories, and songs down through the ages. And this spring, the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale puts love front and center in our concert LOVE IS IN THE AIR.

Actually, three of the four texts with which I began this post are included in the Chorale's concert. (Guess which one didn't get a musical setting? Sorry, Charlie!) I'm excited about the wide variety of music you'll hear in this concert. Let me give you an overview, and then in coming weeks, stay tuned as Ensemble director Mac Willaert and I talk in greater detail about specific selections.

If you were in our audience for Wintersong 2017, you'll recognize the name Z. Randall Stroope. At Christmas we sang his setting of This Endris Night. Stroope's music is back this spring, and the Chorale is actually going to sing two of his settings. The first is his treatment of Edmund Waller's Go, Lovely Rose. The second is a hauntingly beautiful setting of Song to the Moon for chorus, piano, flute, and oboe.

Representing the more "popular" side of our concert are two arrangements of well-known Beatles tunes. These settings of Michelle and Yesterday were both made popular by the King's Singers, and I think you'll enjoy hearing them sung by the Chorale.

Are you more of a 30s and 40s aficionado? There's something for you too! How about these titles: It's Only a Paper Moon, Love Is Here to Stay, and Stormy Weather? Oh, and speaking of weather . . . the Chorale also takes a run at the Carpenters' hit song Rainy Days and Mondays.

There's much more on the program, and we'll have more to say about it in upcoming posts. But for now, mark your calendar for one of our two concerts: 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. And watch for more discussion right here in these blogs!

It's Christmas Concert Week

This is "the week that was." Football players have their "two-a-day" workouts, and the Chorale has its "two-a-week" rehearsals. Our normal rehearsal schedule has us together for two hours once a week—Tuesday nights. But for two weeks just prior to our concerts, we meet on two consecutive evenings—two hours each night. It's fatiguing, let's be honest. But the exhaustion gives way to the joy we feel in anticipating two wonderful concerts at the end of the week. There's nothing quite like the thrill of hearing beautiful music come together, the many voice parts finding their way into the grand mix that is choral music. Add to that the beauty of the Christmas texts and tunes, and well.....it's something I look forward to every year.

If you've been following this blog, you know that Mac Willaert and I have been giving you a sneak peek into some of the things you'll be hearing in Wintersong 2017: Christmas with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale. In this final post before our concerts, I thought I'd take a step back and give you a bit of an overview of our concert. I'm going to try to do that without "giving away the store." After all, we DO want you to experience the concert for yourself this weekend!

Christmas

That picture you're seeing is the beautiful sanctuary of College Church in Wheaton. It's been our singing home for something like 13 years now, and we love it! You will too! As you can see in the picture from a previous Christmas, you'll find the sanctuary decked out in Christmas colors, waiting for the sounds of the choir to fill it. And those majestic pipes in the front? Yes, those are real! And you'll hear them the very first thing as the Chorale sings Mack Wilberg's rousing setting of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. Immediately after the last chord subsides, the organ crescendos again, and you are invited to join us in singing Joy to the World. That will be the first of more opportunities for you to sing favorite songs of Christmas with the Chorale.

The first half of our concert includes a rollicking arrangement of Here We Come A Caroling, a poignant setting of See Amid the Winter's Snow, and the ensemble singing Ruth Morris Gray's No Room No Room. Just before intermission, you'll be tapping your toe to Shawn Kirchner's Brightest and Best, which features Kristen LeJeune on fiddle. Yes, I said fiddle! And wow! You just have to hear it!

After a brief intermission, it's two lively settings of two familiar carols: God Rest Ye and Deck the Hall. Mac Willaert and the ensemble return to sing Ola Gjeilo's haunting Spotless Rose. Then it's time for you to sing again, with a medley of familiar carols. Eric Whitacre's Glow (originally written for Walt Disney World), Ding Dong! Merrily on High, and Fum Fum Fum lead into a fun-filled arrangement of Gloucestershire Wassail, complete with organ and percussion, with the Chorale wassailing you in surround sound!

What better way to welcome in the season of Advent and Christmas! We'd be honored to have you join us! Remember—there are two performances: Friday, December 1 at 7:30, and Saturday, December 2 at 3:00. Tickets are available through Thursday night by clicking on the ticket banner on this page. After that, they are available at the door for both Friday and Saturday concerts. And please check out our newly lowered student ticket prices! It's now more affordable to pack up those kids and bring them with you!

I hope to see you at Wintersong 2017: Christmas with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale!

women GEWC

Before the Marvel of This Night

Govert_Flinck_-_Aankondiging_aan_de_herders.jpg

Before the marvel of this night
Adoring, fold your wings and bow,
Then tear the sky apart with light
And with your news the world endow.
Proclaim the birth of Christ and peace,
That fear and death and sorrow cease:
Sing peace, sing peace, sing gift of peace,
Sing peace, sing gift of peace!
                  —Jaroslav J. Vajda

I'm a bit of a news junkie—I admit it. I watch more than my weekly minimum daily requirement. What that may mean for my being an informed citizen is probably compensated for (in a not so good way) by viewing too much that is troubling. From the political wrangling that seems to dominate our national conversation, to acts of violence that can only be described as evil, the world sometimes seems to be spinning out of control.

It's against that backdrop that Jaroslav Vayda's poem becomes all the more poignant. Look at those last two lines: Sing peace, sing peace, sing gift of peace, Sing peace, sing gift of peace! He isn't content to simply ask us to "Sing peace." He insistently repeats the line five times! And along the way, listen to how those words unfold, with their softly sibilant ess sounds. The very sounds themselves seem to be a whisper of peace.

I sometimes tell the Chorale that we ought to look at the texts we sing as poetry first, before we think of it as a text set to music. Somehow when we do that, the words regain the shimmering glow that the poet meant them to have. So, in Vajda's poem, pause and feel the wonder in these words:

                                          marvel
                                          adoring
                                          tear the sky apart
(wow!)
                                          endow

I dare say that in everyday speech, you rarely use any of these words! And that's the point, isn't it? These words are reserved for this moment, to help us ponder the amazing things we are witnessing: the things that make up the marvel of this night! All of this wonder in the text is matched by the beautiful musical setting of composer Carl Schalk. Always calm (delaying anything louder than mezzo forte until the very end), Schalk's melody rises and falls with a contour that wonderfully complements the text. The music joins the text as we're invited in to this wide-eyed wonder at what God has done on this marvelous night in Bethlehem.

Perhaps my favorite phrase in this text comes in the second stanza. Still speaking to the angelic host, the poet says:

Awake the sleeping world with song,
This is the day the Lord has made.
Assemble here, celestial throng,
In royal splendor come arrayed.
Give earth a glimpse of heavenly bliss,
A teasing taste of what they miss:
Sing bliss, sing bliss, sing endless bliss,
Sing bliss, sing endless bliss!

There it is (see the bolded text)! Don't we weary people need a glimpse of heavenly bliss? Even the smallest "teasing taste" of this glory of God would be enough to make us want nothing but that!

Here is a performance of Before the Marvel of This Night by the GEWC from our 2012 Christmas concert. For more information on WINTERSONG 2017: Christmas with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale, and to order tickets, click on the link on this page.

Spotless Rose

As we continue to look at some of the pieces in the Chorale's upcoming Christmas concerts, our Ensemble director and accompanist Mac Willaert talks about one of his favorites—Spotless Rose by Ola Gjeilo.

My mother had a red rose bloom on Christmas Day when I was a teenager. Exciting for her. Beautiful for the rest of the family.

In the midst of my second year with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale, it seemed fitting that I make my big "Director's Notes" debut! We'll give Mr. Greg Wheatley a week off as we take a look at one of the Ensemble's pieces for the season, a gorgeous a capella choral piece titled Spotless Rose.

When I first took the position of director of the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale Ensemble, one of my very first tasks was to begin assembling the Ensemble's program for Wintersong 2016. It took me no time at all to make my first selection; I have always been thoroughly moved by Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming, perhaps my favorite traditional Christmas carol, and I couldn't resist the opportunity to bring an arrangement to life with my new group of talented singers. In fact, we even used it as their audition piece for the Ensemble! Needless to say, we crafted and tuned that piece over the course of months until it was prepared as a truly beautiful moment in the midst of a spectacular concert.

For this season, I wanted to branch out and perhaps include some arrangements and pieces I was wholly unfamiliar with. I stumbled upon Spotless Rose, written by Ola Gjeilo. Having been familiar with Gjeilo's work and highly admiring it, I gave it a listen and was immediately certain that we must take a stab at it. The piece was in Norwegian, Gjeilo's native language, but came with English language text as well, so there was no hesitation to lock in this brand-new, exciting piece, certainly unlike anything we'd done before with the Ensemble. Then, of course, I took a look at the translated text to see what the core of the piece was all about:

A Spotless Rose is growing, sprung from a tender root,

Of ancient seers' foreshowing, of Jesse promised fruit;

Its fairest bud unfolds to light amid the cold, cold winter

And in the dark midnight.

The Rose which I am singing, whereof Isaiah said,

Is from its sweet root springing in Mary, purest Maid;

Through God's great love and might, the Blessed Babe she bare us

In a cold, cold winter's night.

Those of you familiar with Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming are permitted a chuckle at my expense; in my quest to find something new, daring, and drastically different, I had stumbled on a different arrangement of what is essentially the same, classic text from Lo, How a Rose. A cruel twist of fate indeed. But, alas, one does not look a gift horse in the mouth, especially when the gift horse is presenting such a beautiful piece of choral music. The tune and the setting will be wholly unfamiliar, even to those who love the classic carol as much as myself, but I suppose we will simply have to make it an annual tradition to incorporate it in one form or another! I do hope our singers and our audience enjoy the richness in this expressive, moving setting of a truly classic Christmas text.

We are very excited to be bringing Wintersong 2017: Christmas with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale to College Church in Wheaton, IL on Friday, December 1 and Saturday, December 2. Ticket information is available on this page, and we look forward to bringing you a concert of Christmas cheer!

How Many Halls Are We Decking?

In my last blog, I wrote a bit about the beautiful carol See Amid the Winter's Snow. It is just one of several pieces that the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale is preparing to sing at our upcoming Wintersong concerts. This time I want to venture into one of our more "sprightly" and undoubtedly well-known selections.

I'm willing to bet that nearly every one of us grew up singing Deck the Hall. Ah, but already I must digress! I also would venture to say that most of us sang as though we were decking several halls, not just one! A small point, but an interesting one: the original title of this song did indeed have us festooning a single hall. It wasn't until perhaps the late 1800s that someone decided that decking out one hall just wouldn't be enough. And so, most of us now sing: Deck the Halls.

This venerable carol of Christmas is a classic illustration of the hardiness of tunes and lyrics, morphing over time, but somehow surviving decade after decade of use. The familiar tune for this carol dates to the 16th century, and is Welsh in origin (by the way, give the Welsh their due for writing some amazing tunes! Just look through the index of a hymnal some time, and stop on some of those strange-looking tune names like CWM RHONDDA). The English lyrics don't actually appear until 1862, written by the Scottish musician Thomas Oliphant. The poetic lines are punctuated by those famous fa la la's which remind us of a Renaissance madrigal.

Deck the hall with boughs of holly,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
'Tis the season to be jolly,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Fill the mead cup, drain the barrel,
Fa la la la la la la la la.
Troll the ancient Yuletide carol,
Fa la la la la la la la la.

Hold on a second! What's a troll? Something to do with the Internet? No, can't be that—not in the 1800s. It turns out that back then it meant to sing loudly, or celebrate in song. Aha! So, we're going to gather around and sing a . . . wait a minute, what's Yuletide? Simply put (and there is much more history than this), it's another word for the season of Christmas. It looks like what that quaint line means is simply that we're going to enjoy some good old-fashioned singing of Christmas carols.

Before I say a brief word about the arrangement that the Chorale will sing at our concerts, there is one more interesting tidbit. It turns out that Haydn (yep! Papa Haydn!) actually liked this old Welsh tune enough to write a little version of it for solo voice. Who knew?

At our Wintersong concerts, the Chorale will sing John Rutter's arrangement of Deck the Hall, which he wrote for the recently formed Cambridge Singers in the 1980s. Plenty of those tasty fa la la's, and a rather striking key change to boot!

Next time . . . a look at a rhythmically energetic arrangement of O Come O Come Emmanuel.

Wintersong 2017: Christmas with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale is Friday, December 1 and Saturday, December 2 at College Church in Wheaton, IL. Ticket information is available on this page. We hope you'll be there!

Wintersong 2017: A Few of My Favorites

Anyone who knows me knows that Christmas has always held a very special place in my heart. This Festival of the Incarnation has no equal! As the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale prepares for our Wintersong 2017 Christmas concerts, I thought it might be fun to give you a look at a few of the pieces we'll be singing on December 1 and 2. In all, the Chorale will sing just over a dozen pieces of music. So, in the coming weeks, "watch this space" as I talk briefly about several of them.

See Amid the Winter's Snow

I'll start with a longtime favorite. To the best of my recollection, I first heard (or at least took note of) this wonderful piece in the early 1980s, when I found it on a vinyl record of Christmas carols. I recall being drawn to it as a particularly beautiful setting of a wonderful Christmas text by English hymn writer Edward Caswall:

See amid the winter's snow,
Born for us on earth below;
See the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

I think one of the things that captivates me about this text is the way it places the birth of Jesus, the Lamb promised from eternal years, amidst the wonder of a winter's snow. Somehow the imagery of the pure white snow helps us see the purity of the innocent Lamb, born in Bethlehem—the fulfillment of the promise long foreseen by the prophets.

Then there's the grand refrain:

Hail! Thou ever blessed morn!
Hail! Redemption's happy dawn!
Sing through all Jerusalem:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem."

At Wintersong 2017, the Chorale will sing this carol in an arrangement by Dan Forrest. Dan is a relative newcomer to the choral world, but he has burst on the scene with some wonderfully captivating pieces! Perhaps the most striking feature of his arrangement of See Amid the Winter's Snow is his use of a recurring Alleluia. Inserted between stanzas and their own refrains, Dan writes a soaring four or five measures with the single word Alleluia—a word of apt praise in response to the news the choir is singing!

Add to all of this a flowing accompaniment for piano and strings, and you have what I'm quite certain will prove to be a highlight of Wintersong!

Next time we'll take a look at an upbeat selection: John Rutter's rollicking treatment of Deck the Hall.

Don't forget: it's not too early to mark your calendar for Wintersong 2017: Christmas with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale. There will be two performances—Friday, December 1 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, December 2 at 3:00. Both performances will be at College Church in Wheaton. More information is available here on the Chorale's website.

It's Almost Time!

That's right! The time has flown, and in just a few short days, the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale will be enjoying our performance of Some Enchanted Evening: Favorites from Broadway. This promises to be a very enjoyable time of hearing some memorable tunes from the stage. Everything from West Side Story to Les Miserables.

Everybody loves a good melody, and these songs are filled with them! How about the title song of our concert, Some Enchanted Evening (from South Pacific)? Or maybe something a little more recent is to your liking--something like All I Ask of You (from Phantom of the Opera). And then there are the classics like My Favorite Things (Sound of Music) and Sunrise, Sunset (Fiddler on the Roof). And just to show that the chorale can let down and be a little silly, there's Pick a Little, Talk a Little (The Music Man)--guaranteed to leave you smiling! Oh, and....hot off the presses, an original arrangement of Dear Theodosia (Hamilton) by our own Mac Willaert.

So....how about it? Ready for a musical treat? Get your tickets now for Some Enchanted Evening: Favorites from Broadway. Take a look at the concert banner on this page, and order your tickets. Remember, our concerts are Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13 at College Church in Wheaton.

Hope to see you there!

Greg Wheatley
Music Director

A Broadway Quiz

Ready for a quiz? When it comes to Broadway, just how much do you know? If your pencil is ready, here we go! You'll find the answers after the questions. Don't peek!

  1. What is the longest-running show on Broadway?
  2. We don't normally think of the Pulitzer Prize when it comes to Broadway musicals. But at least one production has been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Can you name it?
  3. Which Broadway musical is adapted from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail?
  4. Put these productions in order of their appearance on Broadway:
                Carousel
                The Music Man
                Fiddler on the Roof
                South Pacific
  5. What popular Broadway production borrows its story line from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet?

So, how did you do? Here are the answers:

  1. The longest-running Broadway show (and it's still running) is Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. To date, there have been more than 12,000 performances!
  2. Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950. There have been a handful of other musicals that have won the award—most recently, Hamilton.
  3. The answer is Spamalot, which like Monty Python, is a parody on the legend of King Arthur. And if you're thinking, "I just don't get the humor in shows like Monty Python," well, you're not alone! It takes a special kind of person! But enough about that!
  4. In order of appearance: Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949), The Music Man (1957), and Fiddler on the Roof (1964).
  5. In a masterful re-telling of Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story is set in 1950s New York City. The setting may be modern, but the audience can easily see Shakespeare's tragic story unfold.

Maybe this little quiz has whetted your appetite for hearing some of the wonderful tunes from these Broadway productions! Here's some good news: music from each of these shows (and others) will be featured in the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale's spring concert Some Enchanted Evening: Favorites from Broadway. The Chorale, Ensemble, and selected soloists will present an evening of some of the memorable tunes from over the years on Broadway.

We hope you'll plan now to be in our audience! The concerts will be Friday, May 12 at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, May 13 at 3:00 pm at College Church in Wheaton. For more information, see the details on this website!

A Christmas Truce

Something amazing happened on Christmas Eve in 1914. It was, of course, the early days of World War I. On the western front, Allied and German forces were dug in, each in their own muddy trenches. On Christmas Eve, some of the German troops decided to decorate their trenches with candles and Christmas trees. Then, floating on the frosty air came the voices of soldiers singing Christmas carols. Before long, their Allied counterparts answered with carols of their own, and so began an amazing moment. Reports say that soldiers actually left their trenches to walk into No-Man's Land and exchange gifts with the enemy. You can see some of this scene depicted in the 2005 film Joyeaux Noel (you'll find it on YouTube)

If you're like me, this story tugs at your heart. Don't we long for a world where enemies are reconciled, where wrongs are made right? I've been thinking about this moment in history as the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale prepares for our upcoming Christmas concerts. Isn't this part of the reason that we find words like these so meaningful?

Hark! The herald angels sing "Glory to the newborn King!"
Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.
                                    (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing)

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love.
                            (Joy to the World)

Peace will pervade more than forest and field:
God will transfigure the violence concealed
Deep in the heart and in systems of gain,
Ripe for the judgment the Lord will ordain.
                            (The Dream Isaiah Saw)

The Christmas truce of 1914, as amazing as it was, turned out to be temporary. Sadly, the soldiers soon went back to their hostilities. We long for a more permanent armistice, a true pax Dei. And this is exactly what the angels sang about in the sky over Bethlehem: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests. Christmas is God's annoucement of a truce between heaven and earth--between God and man--for all who will receive it as a gift.

I consider it a privilege to meet with more than 60 other people on Tuesday nights and sing words like the ones above (all of which, by the way, will be sung in our concerts). We need the hope they bring! I hope you will make plans to be with us when we sing them--and many others--in our Wintersong 2016 concerts. See details on this website, and make plans now to join us. I think you'll be glad!

Greg Wheatley

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendar for our upcoming Spring Concert!

"LOVE IS IN THE AIR"

Friday, May 11
7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 12
3:00 p.m.

College Church
335 E. Seminary Avenue
Wheaton, Illinois
map/directions

See our Tickets page for prices
and purchasing options!

Friends of the Chorale

Anonymous Donor

Wheaton, IL

Melody Level

 

Joan Treland,
Treland Educational Services

Glen Ellyn, IL

Melody Level

Ann and Charles Evans

Glen Ellyn, IL

Melody Level

 

Diana M. Visco, DDS

Roselle, IL

Melody Level

Larry Fuhrer,
Presidential Services

Naperville, IL

Melody Level

Parmelee WebWorks

Full Musical Score Level

Arthur Kulak

Elk Grove Village, IL

Song Level

Sharon and Bill Knott

Batavia, IL

Melody Level

Joseph Lombardo
and Family

Glen Ellyn, IL

Melody Level

Lorraine and Robert
Nieland

Naperville, IL

Melody Level

Lon and Linda Oury

Wheaton, IL

Song Level

Jeff Kling,
Southpaw Painting

Oswego, IL

Melody Level

Patricia and Richard May

Glen Ellyn, IL

Melody Level

 

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