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February 5, 2009

Group celebrates abundance during the downturn

Wednesday Journal (IL):

At the height of the Great Depression, American songwriters George and Ira Gershwin audaciously looked beyond dollars for hope in "Who cares?"

Let it rain and thunder;

Let a million firms go under;

I am not concerned with

Stocks and bonds that I've been burned with.

In the face of the current economic downturn, Chicago A Cappella shares the Gershwins' sunny disposition. To the naysayers and doom-mongers, this polished group of nine singers touts a sense of musical abundance to lift heavy spirits.

Artistic director Jonathan Miller had worked with music director Patrick Sinozich on the theme for this weekend's concert more than a year before Wall Street headed into a tailspin. Without knowing the future, he pulled together a program of eclectic choral music to celebrate what we do have in abundance.

For those who want to know why Chicago a cappella is singing about abundance, and why they're doing it now, Miller says looking on the positive is just what the nation ought to do.

"The human spirit still has plenty of potential to share abundance, even when times are hard," he observed. "Perhaps we need to do that even more in such times."

"Abundance" offers choral works by some of America's most respected composers. Gwyneth Walker, for instance, has avoided the limelight in central Vermont, but still won recognition from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Choral Directors' Association. Miller has long respected her work and recorded some of it on the latest Chicago a cappella CD (Cedille Records, 2008). He was hooked when he heard "God's Grandeur," set to poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins. One of the few who manage to compose full-time, Walker's lovely musical palette is an appealing mix of traditional poetry and modern harmonies. Read more.

Posted by acapnews at February 5, 2009 12:00 AM


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