ST. CHARLES – Professional chamber choir St. Charles Singers, conducted by Jeffrey Hunt, will open its 2019-20 concert season with a Mozart Festival from Aug. 22 to 25, in its hometown of St. Charles, with a diverse array of ticketed and free events.
“Our Mozart Festival is designed as a late-summer oasis for classical music lovers and a chance for everyone to bask in Mozart’s melodies," Hunt stated in a news release.
The festival begins at 7 p.m. Aug. 22, with a free dress rehearsal for the Mozart Journey XV concert program, performed by the choir and Metropolis Chamber Orchestra. The rehearsal will take place in the concert venue, Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles. No reservations are required. During rehearsal breaks, choirmaster Hunt will discuss concert preparations.
“This is designed to be an enlightening, behind-the-scenes experience for all choral-music lovers and anyone curious about choral singing at the highest professional level,” Hunt said.
The festival’s centerpiece will be the Mozart Journey XV concert at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 23 and again at 4 p.m. Aug. 25 at Baker Church. It’s the 15th and newest program in the 40-member choir and orchestra’s multiseason initiative, launched in 2010 to perform all of Mozart’s religious choral music.
“Many listeners find this music as exquisite as Mozart’s symphonic, operatic and chamber works, but these compositions are, for the most part, less well-known and some are rarely, if ever, heard," Hunt said.
Among the works is the “Dominicus” Mass, lavishly scored for soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists, four-part choir, winds, brass, strings, organ and percussion. Audiences also will hear fragments of Mozart’s uncompleted religious choral works, including the Kyrie in C Major, K. 323.
“These unfinished pieces open a window into Mozart’s creative process,” Hunt said.
A pre-concert lecture will be offered one hour before each performance. Tickets cost $40 for adult general admission, $35 for seniors age 65 and older, and $10 for students.
Morning ‘Yoga to Mozart’
St. Charles Singers soprano Meredith Taylor DuBon, a licensed yoga instructor, will lead a free, outdoor “Yoga to Mozart” session at 9 a.m. Aug. 24, on First Street Plaza, 29 S. First St., St. Charles. Recordings of Mozart’s music will provide a sonic backdrop for the yoga workout, suitable for all skill levels.
Saturday Garden Party and Brunch
The St. Charles Singers will stage a “Midday Mozart Garden Party and Brunch” from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Hotel Baker, 100 W. Main St., St. Charles. The Metropolis Chamber Ensemble will open the program with instrumental music of Mozart and two composers he admired: Joseph Michael Haydn, younger brother of Franz Joseph Haydn, and Johann Christian Bach, youngest son of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Following the concert will be a luncheon and conversation with choirmaster Hunt. The event concludes with intimate performances by the St. Charles Singers Choral Ensemble, featuring choir members in solos, duets and other small groupings. Tickets, which include lunch, cost $75 per person.
Mozart Festival event tickets and general information are available at www.stcharlessingers.com or by calling 630-513-5272. Tickets also are available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles, accepting checks or cash only there. Tickets may be purchased at events, depending on availability.
Forty St. Charles Singers ensemble members will perform in Mozart Journey XV.
Sopranos are Jeanne Fornari, Batavia; Marybeth Kurnat, DeKalb; Brittany Anderson, Elgin; Laura Johnson, Hanover Park; Jennifer Gingrich and Meredith Taylor Du Bon, both of Naperville; Megan Bell, Ingrid Burrichter, AnDréa James and Jessica Palmisano, all of St. Charles; and Karen Lukose, Winfield.
The alto section includes Sarah Underhill, Aurora; Margaret Fox, Batavia; Nicole Tolentino, Carol Stream; Allison Deady, Chicago; Mary Kunstman, Elburn; Julie Popplewell and Chelsea King, both of North Aurora; Bridget Kancler, Oak Park; Karen Archbold, Wheaton; and Debra Wilder, Wheeling.
The tenors are Rob Campbell, DeKalb; Bryan Kunstman and Bradley Staker, both of Elburn; Michael Popplewell and Gregor King, both of North Aurora; Christopher Jackson, Rolling Meadows; Aaron James, St. Charles; David Hunt, Wayne; and Steve Williamson, West Chicago.
The bass section comprises Jess Koehn, Phil Nohl and Michael Thoms, all of Aurora; Brandon Fox, Batavia; Antonio Quaranta, Carol Stream; Douglas Peters, Chicago; Nate Coon, Crystal Lake; David Hartley, Lake in the Hills; Drayton Eggleson, Sycamore; and Andrew Barrett, Willowbrook.