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St. Charles Singers to bring ‘Victorian Flourish’ to season finale

The St. Charles Singers will perform Victorian-era choral works to cap the 35th season.
The St. Charles Singers will perform Victorian-era choral works to cap the 35th season.

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Singers will conclude its 35th concert season with an eclectic program of Victorian-era choral works April 27 in Wheaton and April 28 in St. Charles.

The mixed-voice professional chamber choir conducted by Jeffrey Hunt will present “Victorian Flourish,” showcasing pieces, both secular and religious, from the British Isles, the U.S., France and Germany, a news release stated.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. April 27 at St. Michael Catholic Church in Wheaton, and 3 p.m. April 28 at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Charles.

“The Victorian era was a Renaissance for choral music,” Hunt stated in the release about the period marked by the reign of Britain’s Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901.

Hunt said the era’s celebration of individual artistic expression and embrace of unique musical personalities are reflected in the St. Charles Singers’ first-ever program devoted to music by a broad range of composers from a specific historical period.

Charles Woods’ famous Anglican Church anthem for double choir, “Hail Gladdening Light,” opens the program, followed by two works by Felix Mendelssohn. These include the German composer’s “Drei Geistliche Lieder” (“Three Sacred Songs”) for alto soloist, choir and organ; and the fourth movement from his Sonata No. 1 for solo organ, written in 1844. St. Charles Singers organist Michael Giuliani describes it as a “brilliant” work with “pianistic arpeggios throughout, previously unseen in organ literature.”

Hunt calls Claude Debussy’s whimsical “Trois Chansons” (“Three Songs”) “a remarkable time machine that skillfully brings Renaissance-style singing into the 20th century.” The songs are based on playful poems about feminine beauty, early morning fatigue, and winter’s unpleasantness.

After singing Henry Leslie’s sweetly nostalgic “Charm Me Asleep,” the choir will perform several part songs, which are a cappella works on nonreligious themes.

R.O. Morris’s “Blow Away the Morning Dew” is in the style of an English madrigal. Frederick Delius’s “Two Songs to be sung of a summer night on the water” are vocalises – songs without words.

Tickets are available online and by phone or by going to Town House Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles, with checks or cash only accepted there.

Tickets also can be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability.

St. Charles Singers ensemble members performing in “Victorian Flourish” include sopranos Jeanne Fornari of Batavia, Ingrid Burrichter of Chicago, Marybeth Kurnat of DeKalb, Laura Johnson of Hanover Park, Cynthia Spiegel of La Fox, Jennifer Gingrich and Meredith Taylor Du Bon, both of Naperville, Megan Bell and Jessica Palmisano, both of St. Charles, and Karen Lukose of Winfield.

The alto section includes Christina Collins of Arlington Heights, Sarah Underhill of Aurora, Margaret Fox and Valerie Heinkel-Bollero, both of Batavia, Mary Kunstman of Elburn, Julie Popplewell of North Aurora, Jennifer Hunt of St. Charles, and Debra Wilder of Wheeling.

Tenors are Brennan Runzo of Chicago, Rob Campbell of DeKalb, Bryan Kunstman and Bradley Staker, both of Elburn, Gregor King of North Aurora, Aaron James of St. Charles, Dallin Hwang of Sugar Grove, and David Hunt of Wayne.

Basses are Jess Koehn and Michael Thoms, both of Aurora, Brandon Fox of Batavia, Antonio Quaranta of Carol Stream, Douglas Peters of Chicago, Nate Coon and Brian Jozwick, both of Crystal Lake, David Hartley of Lake in the Hills, Michael Popplewell of North Aurora, and Jens Hurty of Oswego.

If you go

WHAT: St. Charles Singers to perform in St. Charles and Wheaton

WHERE: St. Michael Catholic Church, 310 S. Wheaton Ave., Wheaton, and Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. April 27 in Wheaton and 3 p.m. April 28 in St. Charles

COST: $35 for adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students

INFO:, 630-513-5272

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