Annual Messiah Sing
Dec
12
7:30 PM19:30

Annual Messiah Sing

Join us in singing the Christmas choruses of Handel's "Messiah." Bring a score or borrow one at the door. Listeners are also welcome.
 
Richard Riley will conduct, with pianist Claire Black and soloists.
 
North Avenue Alliance Church, 901 North Avenue, Burlington, VT.
 
Admission free.
 
Donations to COTS and NAAC Community Outreach are welcome.

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Apr
21
7:30 PM19:30

A Baltic Heartbeat: Choral Music from Latvia

 The program will feature "Dievs, Tava Zeme Deg!" (God, Thy Earth is Aflame!) by Lūcija Garūta (1902-1977), a cantata for tenor, baritone, choir, and organ;

 Ēriks Ešenvalds (b. 1977) - Stars with tuned wine goblets, and Long Road; 

 Pēteris Vasks' (b. 1946) The Fruit of Silence; 

 Ave Verum Corpus by Imant Raminsh (b. 1943); and two pieces sung at the Latvian Song Festival Līgo! (“Sway!”) and Pūt vējiņi ("Blow Winds").

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Nov
18
7:30 PM19:30

G. F. Handel "Alexander's Feast"

  • College Street Congregational Church (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Come join us Saturday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m. at the College Street Congregational Church, 265 College St., Burlington, VT.

Our 80-voice chorus presents Handel's musical banquet for Alexander the Great, blessed by Saint Cecilia. It traces the Greek emperor's moods from triumphant to amorous to melancholy. The final movements celebrate Cecilia, patron of musicians, in gorgeous melody.
 
With Allison Devery, soprano; Gene Stenger, tenor; George Cordes, bass; and the Alexander's Feast Orchestra.

Tickets are available from FlynnTix.

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The Brahms Requiem
Apr
23
4:00 PM16:00

The Brahms Requiem

The Burlington Choral Society's 40th anniversary season continues with performances of beloved music by Brahms.
 
Richard Riley, artistic director, will lead the chorus, soloists and two pianists in Johannes Brahms' Requiem.
 
A musical journey from sorrow to consolation, the piece will be sung in English, as it was in 1871, just three years after its German premiere. Also on the program is Brahms' passionate Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny).
 
Pianists Claire Black and Diane Huling will be side by side at the keyboard playing Brahms' own four-hand piano arrangement. Sarah Cullins, soprano, and Geoffrey Penar, baritone, are the soloists.
 
Riley said, "Performing the Brahms Requiem is one of the most profound experiences one can have in music. The music is gigantic, and yet intimate. Together, performers and audience create a environment where, through music, we share our most personal feelings about life and death."
 
VPR is media sponsor for the Burlington Choral Society's 2016-2017 season. Northfield Savings Bank is sponsor for the Barre concert.

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The Brahms Requiem
Apr
22
7:30 PM19:30

The Brahms Requiem

The Burlington Choral Society's 40th anniversary season continues with performances of beloved music by Brahms.
 
Richard Riley, artistic director, will lead the chorus, soloists and two pianists in Johannes Brahms' Requiem.
 
A musical journey from sorrow to consolation, the piece will be sung in English, as it was in 1871, just three years after its German premiere. Also on the program is Brahms' passionate Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny).
 
Pianists Claire Black and Diane Huling will be side by side at the keyboard playing Brahms' own four-hand piano arrangement. Sarah Cullins, soprano, and Geoffrey Penar, baritone, are the soloists.
 
Riley said, "Performing the Brahms Requiem is one of the most profound experiences one can have in music. The music is gigantic, and yet intimate. Together, performers and audience create a environment where, through music, we share our most personal feelings about life and death."
 
VPR is media sponsor for the Burlington Choral Society's 2016-2017 season. Northfield Savings Bank is sponsor for the Barre concert.

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Messiah Sing with the Burlington Choral Society
Dec
6
7:00 PM19:00

Messiah Sing with the Burlington Choral Society

Messiah Sing with the Burlington Choral Society

Everyone is invited to sing the Christmas choruses of Handel's Messiah with the Burlington Choral Society.  Bring a score or borrow one at the door.  (Please come early if you need to borrow a score.)

Richard Riley will conduct with pianist Claire Black and soloists from the BCS.

Tuesday, December 6th at 7 p.m., North Avenue Alliance Church, 901 North Avenue, Burlington, VT.

Admission is free.  Cash donations to COTS are welcome.

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J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Nov
19
7:30 PM19:30

J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio

The Burlington Choral Society Will Celebrate Its 40th Anniversary With

J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio
Saturday, November 19, 7:30pm
Elley-Long Music Center
223 Ethan Allen Ave.
Colchester, VT

As we begin our 40th season, artistic director Richard Riley leads the Burlington Choral Society in Parts 1, 2 & 3 of Bach's timeless retelling of the Christmas story.

Experience the beauty, power and joy of the 100-voice chorus, soloists and period instrument orchestra.

General Admission tickets: $25 Adults; $20 Students & Seniors; $10 Children 10 & Under

Available at FlynnTix Box Office:
http://www.flynntix.org/see-description/burlington-choral-society/Details?perfNo=14157&perfCodePrefix=OPC17U

(802) 86-FLYNN

Season Media Sponsor: VPR

We'd be happy to send you details about the concert as they become available.  Subscribe to our email list here.

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Apr
23
7:30 PM19:30

Hidden Haydn

The Burlington Choral Society's spring concert will celebrate light and warmth with a program of Haydn gems not performed in the area for many years.
 
Recent concerts have sold out, so get your tickets now at the Flynn Box Office, flynntix.org or (802) 86-FLYNN. Prices are $25 general admission and $20 for students and seniors.
 
Richard Riley, artistic director, will lead the 80-voice chorus in "Spring" and "Summer" from Joseph Haydn's The Seasons, and two shorter works: "Insanae et Vanae Curae" (Insane and stupid worries) and "Te Deum Laudamus" (We praise thee, O God).
 
Soloists Mary Bonhag, soprano; Adam Hall, tenor; Benjamin Dickerson, baritone; members of the Burlington Chamber Orchestra; and pianist Claire Black will perform with the chorus.
 
The two movements from The Seasons (1801) will be sung in English. In "Spring," country folk rejoice in Nature's re-awakening and the loveliness of the landscape. "Summer" finds them hailing the Sun that brings life and light. Their world shakes and trembles when a violent musical thunderstorm erupts. The calm after the storm brings maidens and young men out for a starlit evening.
 
The two pieces to be sung in Latin are just as vivid, with ardent cries for help from God contrasted with resounding praises.
 
Since Riley became artistic director of the Burlington Choral Society in 2012, the chorus has introduced audiences to a range of underperformed works by classical masters. Riley said, "For this concert, the audience will hear some Haydn gems that have not been performed in the area for many years. Composed or revised at the very end of Haydn's creative life, these pieces contain a lifetime's worth of wonder and emotion."

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Dec
8
7:00 PM19:00

Handel's Messiah Community Singalong

As part of the holiday season, the BCS will be hosting a sing-along of Handel's Messiah, specifically Part 1 and the Hallelujah chorus, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tuesday, December 8th at 7pm. Admission is free, but we will be collecting donations for the Committee On Temporary Shelter (COTS) and we encourage our attendees to join us in donating during this season of giving.

Bring a score if you have one!  We will have some copies available to borrow at the door - please come early if you need one.

 

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Exploring Estonian Music
Nov
20
7:30 PM19:30

Exploring Estonian Music

The Burlington Choral Society will perform a program based on choral music from that remarkable Baltic Republic of Estonia, including what we believe to be the North American premiere of Tõnu Kõrvits' exquisite Kreek's Notebook, which is based on Estonian sacred folk melodies collected by Cyrillus Kreek. This program will also feature a piece commissioned for the BCS by Estonian-American composer Lembit Beecher. Lembit is in the first or second year of a three-year appointment as the first Composer In Residence of Opera Philadelphia in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre Group of New York. From the Scrag Mountain Music website: "Born of Estonian and American parents, he grew up under the redwoods in Santa Cruz, California, a few miles from the wild Pacific. Since then he has lived in Boston, Houston, Ann Arbor, Berlin and New York, earning degrees from Harvard, Rice and the University of Michigan. This varied background has made him particularly sensitive to place, ecology and the strong emotional relationships that people forge with patterns in nature. He is also interested in memory and the various ways we tell stories, from emotional personal narratives to crisp and clean documentaries. Recent pieces have focused on reflections of the immigrant experience and the integration of recorded interviews with music."

We will also be featuring two pieces by Arvo Pärt, Magnificat and Estonian Lullaby, a selection of orchestral works, and three songs that are sung at the Estonian Song Festival, an event at which a chorus of 30,000 voices sings to an audience of 80,000!

This concert is sponsored by the Argosy Foundation and the Vermont Council on World Affairs.

Ticket Info: $25 for General Admission, $20 for Students and Seniors

Advance tickets will be available at the Flynntix Box Office and www.flynntix.org

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Dec
16
7:00 PM19:00

Handel's Messiah Sing-along

  • College Street Congregational Church (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The BCS will be hosting a sing-along of Handel's Messiah at the College Street Congregational Church on Tuesday, December 16th at 7pm.  Admission is free, but a donation to the Chittenden County Emergency Food Shelf is most welcome.  Bring a score if you have one!  They will also be available to borrow at the door - please come early if you need one.

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Solomon by George Frideric Handel
Nov
22
7:30 PM19:30

Solomon by George Frideric Handel

Solomon is an extraordinary piece.  Written in 1748 at the height Handel's fame as an oratorio composer, it is one of the less-frequently performed Handel oratorios.  The reason?  It requires large forces: a large chorus, five soloists (covering eight named roles), and a large orchestra.  It tells three stories from the life of the biblical King Solomon rather than just one.  

It is not known for certain who wrote the libretto - it could have been a fellow named Newburgh Hamilton, with whom Handel had collaborated before - but regardless of who penned the words, it has more than a whiff of Augustan Age/George II triumphalism transposed onto the kingdom of Solomon: "til distant nations catch the song and glow with holy flame" and "from the East unto the West, who so wise as Solomon?"

But the three stories are given marvelous musical treatment.  In Act I, Solomon (an alto or countertenor role; we will have a countertenor) and Zadok the High Priest celebrate the completion of the Temple.  After completion of the Temple, how does Solomon celebrate?  By consummating his marriage with Pharaoh's daughter; the latter half of Act I is remarkable in its "explicitness with which it hymns the joys of the marriage bed."  Act II tells the famous story of Solomon's judgement in the case of the two women who both claim a baby as their own.  There is memorably affecting music in this part.  Act III describes the visit from the Queen of Sheba and her wonder at the magnificence of Solomon's empire.  In contrast to the sensual celebration of Solomon's marriage to Pharaoh's daughter in Act I, a curtain is drawn around what might have happened with the Queen of Sheba after Act III.  (According to the Bible, Solomon had 300 wives and 700 concubines.)  

Also not depicted in Handel's Solomon are Solomon's subsequent descent into idolatry.  No, in Handel's Solomon, the title character is powerful, wise, sexy, and in a way, humble.  Thanks to some over-the-top poetry, the characterization can sometimes border on Gilbert and Sullivan. Case in point: the Queen of Sheba sings to Solomon "Thy harmony's divine, great king/All obey the artist's string/And now illustrious prince receive/Such tribute as my realm can give./Here purest gold from earth's dark entrails torn/And gems resplendent that outshine the morn."  But some of the greatest encomiums are saved for Mother Nature and her many charms, including a lovely chorus at the end of Act I as Solomon and his new queen sleep off their marriage exertions: "May no rash intruder disturb their soft hours/To form fragrant pillows, arise O ye flowers!/Ye zephyrs soft breathing their slumbers prolong/While nightingales lull them to sleep with their song." 

Handel's music, in its infinite variety, is vivid throughout.

Tickets available through FlynnTix 

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Aug
23
9:00 AM09:00

Choral Singing Workshop with guest instructor Bill Reed

Choral singing continues to be the most popular form of participation in the performing arts," and "a large majority of choral singers credit chorus experience as key to their team participation or team leadership abilities and with helping them to socialize better in other areas of their lives." (The Chorus Impact Study, 2009) 

But if singing in a chorus is primarily fun, it is also significantly challenging. To help us all move towards making beautiful music, and as a part of the mission of the Burlington Choral Society, the BCS is hosting a choral singing workshop to help choral singers in the area develop their voices and musicianship. This workshop will focus on hearing other sections, building resonant harmonies, and tips on learning and understanding unfamiliar music.

Bill Reed has graciously agreed to be the guest instructor. He will join the Artistic Director of the BCS, Richard Riley, in leading this workshop. Here is the bio for Bill:

While Bill Reed is known in Vermont as a singing teacher who trains performers with interests that range from all forms of popular music to classical art songs and opera, he spent the early decades of his musical life as a professional chorister, tenor soloist and choral conductor.  Bill trained and studied in preparation for his professional life by completing his undergraduate vocal music training at the University of Wisconsin—Madison under choral conductor Vance George. After serving five years as a high school vocal music educator, Bill completed his formal education by earning a doctorate in vocal music education at Columbia University.  While at Columbia, Bill studied voice at Juilliard with the internationally renowned singing teacher, Oren Brown. Upon the completion of his studies, Bill began his career as a choral conductor in higher education, culminating in an appointment at Louisiana State University.   

Despite the many rewards of an academic career, Bill made the decision to move back to New York, where he established a private voice studio in the Lincoln Center neighborhood, and embarked on a career as a professional classical tenor.  He performed as an ensemble member and soloist in many concerts in the U.S. and Europe and participated in a number of recordings as a member of the Pro Arte Chorale under John Nelson, Musica Sacra, and the St. John the Devine Cathedral Choir, under Richard Westenberg, the New York Philharmonic Chorus, under Joseph Flummerfeldt, James Levine and Zubin Mehta, as well as a number of other notable professional choral groups. 

As the years went by, and the demands of a young family became the top priority, Bill reduced his performing commitments, accepted an appointment at the prestigious Circle in the Square Theatre School, and built one of the busiest voice studios for Broadway singers in New York City.  His father, Vern Reed, was the tenor in the Buffalo Bills Barbershop Quartet (famous for their role in the original cast of Meredith Wilson’s THE MUSIC MAN), so Bill was very familiar with the Broadway style of singing.  After commuting from Burlington to New York for over 25 years, Bill is now very happy to be in Vermont full-time.    

This workshop will take place on August 23rd in the lower level of St. Paul's Cathedral Church in Burlington from 9:00AM through 12:00PM. There will be signs indicating where to go when you arrive at the facility. The only things you are required to bring are a pencil, an open mind, and a joyous voice. All are welcome. Please feel free to forward this event to other choral groups. Drop-ins are welcome, but, if possible, please pre-register using the form below so that we can plan accordingly.

The cost of this workshop is being covered by the BCS so there is no fee for participation. However, donations are always welcome as they will help ensure that we are able to continue bringing events like this to the community.

Auditions for membership in the Burlington Choral Society will take place on the same day in the same location beginning at 1 pm.  Sign up here to audition. The BCS will perform two programs in the 2014-15 season: Handel's oratorio "Solomon" in November and a program focusing on music from Estonia in April.

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Steal This Requiem
Apr
26
7:00 PM19:00

Steal This Requiem

We will perform the remarkable, influential, and almost-never-performed Grande Messe de Morts by the French composer François-Joseph Gossec, who lived a long and eventful life from 1734 to 1829. We can find no record of Gossec's Grande Messe de Morts having been performed in the United States since 1977, and yet this is a piece that made Gossec famous in France literally overnight.  Mozart (very artfully) stole from Gossec in his famous Requiem composed in 1791 (Mozart and Gossec were friends), and Berlioz clearly had Gossec's thrilling brass writing in the "Tuba Mirum" section in his ear 77 years later when he wrote his  famous Grande Messe de Morts in 1837.

Gossec always had a taste for the revolutionary, both musically and politically, and  became one of the most important classical music figures in the French Revolution.  For example, he scored his Te Deum for 1200 singers and 300 wind instruments, and several oratorios require the physical separation of multiple choirs, including invisible ones behind the stage. He wrote several works in honor of the French Revolution including Le Triomphe de la République, and L'Offrande à la Liberté.

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From Darkness to Light: A Musical Journey of the Soul
Apr
27
3:30 PM15:30

From Darkness to Light: A Musical Journey of the Soul

  • College Street Congregational Church (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

The Burlington Choral Society will take you on a "musical journey of the soul." The 100-member chorus, under the direction of Artistic Director Richard Riley, will perform a mystical and ethereal collection of works by some of today's finest choral composers inspired and driven by powerful and visual poetry. Featured works include:

 

J.S. Bach

Giver of Sleep "Deathbed Chorale" BWV668

John Tavener 

The Second Coming
The Lamb
The Tyger

Ola Gjeilo 

Dark Night of the Soul

Morten Lauridsen

Lux Aeterna

 

Accompaniment provided by pianist Claire Black and organist Lynette Combs.

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