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Director's Notes

I Guess I'm a Little Bit Country After All!

"Dad, that was such a 'Southern' thing you just said!" I heard those words from my daughter more than once while she was growing up. My response—whether verbalized to her or not—was usually "What are you talking about?" I am a Midwesterner through and through—born in Michigan and lived all my life either in that state or here in Wheaton. It doesn't get much more "Midwest" than that!

But here's the thing: I do have a heritage that includes our nation's southland. My father was born and spent the first few years of his life in the tiny town of Big Sandy in west Tennessee. My mother is a Texan. So, it turns out my daughter was hearing things in some of my speech that even I couldn't hear. (As far as I know, I never called the kids to dinner the way I remember hearing it growing up: "Y'all come on.” That is an exact quote of the summons I heard many times from my mother and my grandmother.)

So what does all of this have to do with a choral concert? Just this: as I've grown older, I've come to appreciate some of the heart and soul contained in the music that has its source in our nation's South. There is a genuineness—a sort of earthiness—that you hear in much of this music. And so it is with the song Angel Band, one of my favorites from our upcoming concert.

Angel Band has an interesting history. It began its life as a song included in hymnals in the middle of the 19th century. Jefferson Hascall wrote the text in 1860, and it was set to music by William Bradbury (the man who also wrote Jesus Loves Me) in 1862. But here is where the influence of the South comes in. Angel Band has since been adopted into the repertory of bluegrass music, made most famous by the Stanley Brothers. The poignancy of the text is clear:

The latest sun is sinking fast, my race is almost run,
My strongest trials now are past, my triumph is begun.
O come, angel band, come and around me stand,
O bear me away on your snow-white wings to my immortal home.

And now, Shawn Kirchner has arranged this compelling song in a traditional choral setting, the one you'll hear in the Chorale's concert. But though the arrangement is made for a traditional choir, I think you'll still feel the wonderful emotion of this song coming through:

I know I'm near the holy ranks of friends and kindred dear,
I've brushed the dew on Jordan's banks, the crossing must be near.
O come, angel band, come and around me stand,
O bear me away on your snow-white wings to my immortal home.

Angel Band is just one of many songs from America that you'll hear in Celebrate! A Tapestry of American Music. I hope we'll see you at one of our concerts!

AND DON'T FORGET! Our special guest for this concert is Keith "Doc" Hampton, who will conduct his own song Celebrate! I know you'll enjoy it!

Click here for a preview of our concert.

The Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale presents:
Celebrate! A Tapestry of American Music

Friday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, May 11 at 3:00 p.m.
College Church in Wheaton

More information and purchasing options on our Tickets page.

Audition to Join Us!

The Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale will be holding auditions for all voice parts on

Monday, August 12
and
Tuesday, August 13

Please fill out our online
Audition Request Form
if you're interested in singing
with our group!

To hear from our members about their reasons for singing with the Chorale, see our special video:

"Why I Sing"

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