HARTFORD AND NEW BRITAIN, CONN. (November 1, 2016) — CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists), the region’s oldest all-professional choral ensemble, opens the 2016-2017 concert season by joining with five of Connecticut’s finest high school choirs to present a concert of music inspired by William Shakespeare, marking the 400th anniversary of the playwright’s death.
The Glastonbury High School Concert Choir, Ethan Nash, director
“Extraordinary Shakespeare” will be performed on Saturday, November 12, at 7:30 PM, at St. Thomas the Apostle Church at 872 Farmington Avenue in West Hartford.
Participating high school choirs include:
Greenwich High School Chamber Singers, Patrick Taylor, director
Guilford High School Voices, Kevin Buno, director
The Hall High School Choraliers, West Hartford, Lorri Cetto, director
Manchester Roundtable Singers, Edward Tyler, director
This is the tenth edition of the “Extraordinary Concert” series, which began in 1993 as part of CONCORA’s education and outreach programming.
CONCORA’s Artistic Director Chris Shepard has collaborated with the five high school directors in choosing the concert repertoire and planning and leading rehearsals. CONCORA and the five high school choirs will rehearse independently, then come together for joint rehearsals prior to the public concert on Saturday, November 12.
In a feature new to this year’s production, Shepard will share the conductor's podium during the concert, when each of the five high school choir directors will take a “solo” turn to conduct CONCORA in concert.
“Most conductors never have a chance to work with a professional ensemble, and I’m glad to be able to offer this opportunity to these fine high school conductors,” said Shepard, now in his second season as CONCORA’s Artistic Director. “And CONCORA’s professional singers are enjoying the experience, too. Every conductor brings a unique perspective to rehearsing and performing, and we all benefit from a fresh approach, whether it's with well-loved choral classics or with music that is new to us — and this concert includes some of both.”
For the young singers, an event like the Extraordinary Concert can be a life-changing event.
“Rehearsing and performing with professional singers can inspire a young musician to pursue a career in music,” said Christine Laird, CONCORA’s Director of Operations and a long-tenured CONCORA singer. “These singers are our future music teachers, church musicians, composers, and arts supporters. It’s not unusual for us to hear from participants years later; they contact us to say, ‘Singing with CONCORA made a difference in my life.’ ”
Only a few venues in the Hartford area have performing space large enough for the 180-voice combined choir, as well as an acoustic appropriate for choral music.
“We are so fortunate to be able to return to St. Thomas the Apostle Church in West Hartford for this edition of the Extraordinary Concert,” said Shepard. “The acoustic is magnificent for choral music – the sound of 180 voices will wash over and around the audience and will fill every corner of that beautiful space. It will be a memorable experience for everyone.”
Saturday, November 12, 2016 7:30 PM
St. Thomas the Apostle Church
872 Farmington Avenue
West Hartford, CT
Tickets: Tickets are available at www.concora.org, by phone at 860-293-0567, by email at email@example.com, or at the door.
$55 preferred seating; $35 general admission seating; $30 senior; $10 student. Order before November 9 to take advantage of early-bird pricing on most tickets. 2-for-1 general admission tickets are available with Let*s Go! Arts card; contact the CONCORA office for information.
# # #
For more information, or to schedule an interview with Artistic Director Chris Shepard, please contact Christine Laird, Director of Operations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-293-0567
Photos of CONCORA, of the 2012 edition of the "Extraordinary Concert," and of CONCORA's Artistic Director Chris Shepard are attached below.
About CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) – CONCORA (Connecticut Choral Artists) holds a unique place as the region’s first professional choir. Now in its 43rd season, the ensemble enjoys an extraordinary reputation for artistic excellence throughout New England. Under the direction of Chris Shepard, now in his second season as Artistic Director, the ensemble’s versatility is displayed in its wide range of repertoire and in the crafting of select ensembles from among the choir’s roster of singers to produce an extraordinary range of choral color and dynamic range for each program and performance space. CONCORA’s mission statement – “to perpetuate and perform with excellence choral music of the highest quality for the broadest possible audience” – represents a commitment to the Connecticut community and to artistic excellence, masterful performances, and educational enrichment. CONCORA’s educational outreach program includes several highly successful projects. CONCORA extends special invitations to other choruses, especially children’s, high school and college ensembles, as a regular part of its concert programming, particularly the “Extraordinary Concerts,” where the ensemble collaborates with select high school choirs. CONCORA’s Summer Festival offers adult singers from the community and select high school and college singers an opportunity to join with CONCORA in rehearsing and performing great choral works. For children, the CONCORA-to-Go quartet presents an interactive, multicultural program, “Around the World in Music,” performed in area elementary schools and public libraries. More information about CONCORA is available at www.concora.org.
About Chris Shepard – Chris Shepard has served as CONCORA’s Artistic Director since 2015, succeeding founder Richard Coffey in that role. He also serves as Music Director of the Worcester Chorus and the Masterwork Chorus of Morristown, New Jersey. With these choirs, Chris has performed a wide range of repertoire, collaborating with a number of major orchestras in venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and Radio City Music Hall in New York, as well as the Royal Festival Hall in London and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. A conductor with a particular affinity for the choral music of J.S. Bach, Chris founded the Sydneian Bach Choir in Sydney, Australia, an ensemble that has performed all of Bach’s choral cantatas as well as all of his major choral works. He has taught at the Taft School, Sydney Grammar School and Holy Cross College. A pianist and keyboard continuist, Chris holds degrees from the Hartt School and the Yale School of Music, and the University of Sydney. His PhD dissertation won the American Choral Directors Association’s 2012 Julius Herford Prize for outstanding doctoral thesis in choral music. A fuller bio of Chris Shepard is available at http://www.concora.org/artistic-leadership.html.
CityArts on Pearl
233 Pearl Street
Hartford, CT 06103
90 Main Street
New Britain, CT 06051