Bella Voce Holiday Delights Concert Review - The beautiful voice of Chicago's Premier Chamber Choir

After experiencing the thrill of Bella Voce performing the Messiah on November 20th, I eagerly awaited their performance of Holiday Delights on Sunday, December 11th.  Named as “Chicago’s premier chamber choir” (Chicago Tribune), the performance depicted the vocal brilliance and beauty for which the choir is known.  The name Bella Voce means one beautiful voice and as the music filled St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, the audience was lifted to a higher plane with the beauty of the performance.

Bella Voce Chamber Choir Members

Bella Voce is renowned for performing traditional and contemporary, sacred and secular choral music, which inspires and exhilarates its audiences. It continues to honor the traditions that won this stellar choral group so many admirers and supporters over the years while also exploring new repertoire. 

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is artistic director of Bella Voce, music director of the Elgin Choral Union, founder and artistic director of The Janus Ensemble, a professional chamber orchestra specializing in Baroque and new music, choirmaster at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston, and is on the conducting faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is also artistic director emeritus of the Lutheran Choir of Chicago and formerly taught conducting at DePaul University.  He has appeared as a guest conductor with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.  Lewis’ performances have been heard live on 98.7 WFMT.

Holiday Delights Concert

The program featured some traditional music such as “I Wonder as I Wander”,” O Come, all Ye Faithful”, and” Away in a Manger” with innovative arrangements by John Rutter, Jackson Berkey, and Bob Chilcott respectively.  When soprano Laura Lynch soloed on the opening song “I Wonder as I Wander” with a voice so clear and beautiful , I immediately felt goose bumps!    Mixed in with these songs was polyphonic music from the 16th century by Hans Hassler, Jean Mouton and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.   More rhythmical music by Ken Burton, born in the West Indies but schooled in England was reminiscent of our American gospel tradition in music.  I especially enjoyed these pieces and would have loved to hear this extraordinary choir perform some of our traditional gospel music.

The magnificence of the performance was highlighted by the setting of St. Lukes with its fabulous acoustics and imposing structure.  There was even scaffolding on the front wall making me think of “The Da Vinci Code”. 

Future performances for the 2011-2012 season will feature music of the Sistine Chapel

Saturday, March 17, 7:30 PM – Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Chicago

Sunday, March 18, 4:00 PM - Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest

Saturday, March 24, 7:30 PM – St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Evanston

For information and tickets contact - Bella Voce’s website: http://bellavoce.org or call 877-755-6277.

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