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The Grinnell Singers in Concert

Details:
Mar. 19, 8:00 pm  -  Free-will donation
The Grinnell Singers




The Grinnell Singers are a group of people who are highly diverse in terms of their backgrounds, interests, and talents, but who are united in their love of singing and their dedication to the choral art. They perform music from a wide variety of traditions and locales — from Brahms to Bluegrass, from Renaissance England to twenty-first century New York. They work hard to craft the very best musical performances together, and as they pursue these high ideals, they are committed to fostering an environment that is welcoming and supportive for each and every member. In addition to their musical work, the ensemble regularly contributes to the community in the form of volunteer projects.



Each year, the Grinnell Singers complete a concert tour during the first week of spring recess. In past years, they have completed tours to Finland, Estonia, Russia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Their 2012 tour took them into Canada, with concerts in Chicago, Ann Arbor, Toronto, and Montreal, culminating in a concert at Boston University, and in 2013, they travelled to California, with concerts all along the coast, from San Francisco to San Diego.



This year, we have another collaboration planned with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra from the Twin Cities. Together with this professional period-instrument ensemble, we will be presenting three performances of Handel’s Dixit Dominus and J. S. Bach’s Mass in A Major in Grinnell and in St. Paul and Rochester Minnesota. One of our most illustrious musical alumni, Thomas Meglioranza ’92, will also be joining us as baritone soloist for these concerts. This is the third time that the Grinnell Singers have teamed up with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra. Our 2017 concerts, under the direction of guest conductor Simon Carrington, were hailed as “superbly nimble and confident” by the Rochester Post-Bulletin. Our first collaboration, on Handel’s Esther was also a joyful and richly rewarding occasion. We are pleased to have this ongoing relationship with this fine ensemble, and their musical director, Jacques Ogg.

Following our Twin-Cities concerts with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra during the first two days of spring break, we will continue on the road, performing concerts on our own on our spring-break tour.

Tallis’s forty-voice motet, Spem in alium has been a signature piece for the Grinnell Singers over the years. It is a great adventure mastering this piece, in which each individual really has to sing with complete independence. There is so much to explore in this rich work of art. One of the most enjoyable things we’ve done is to sing impromptu performances of Spem in alium in resonant acoustics such as state capitol rotundas while on tour. As part of this project, we also plan to create a virtual choir version of our performance.

John Rommereim




John Rommereim is Blanche Johnson Professor of Music at Grinnell College, where he conducts the Grinnell Singers and the Grinnell Oratorio Society and teaches composition. His choral works have been performed by choral ensembles across the U.S., including Magnum Chorum, the Princeton Singers, VocalEssence, Voces Novae, Roomful of Teeth, the Norfolk Festival Choir, and The Rose Ensemble, for whom he served as 2008-09 composer-in-residence. The New York Times praised the “richly expressive” character of his work for voice and piano, Into the Still Hollow (2006). He has collaborated on two theatre works with his colleague at Grinnell, Craig Quintero: Rheingold (2014), and The First Time I Walked on the Moon (2018), which was performed at the Taiwan International Theatre Festival, the Tainan Festival of the Arts, and the BeSeTo Festival in Kwangju, South Korea. His works written in collaboration with flutist Claudia Anderson have been performed at the National Flute Association convention, and internationally by the ZAWA flute duet.



Rommereim’s choral/orchestral work Utopia (2000) was premiered with the Prague Radio Orchestra and the Grinnell Singers, and his choral cycle Convivencia (2006), a six-movement work for choir, string quartet, and harp, based on ancient love poetry from Jewish, Islamic, and Christian traditions, was premiered by Voces Novae, of Bloomington, Indiana, at a special event co-sponsored by Jewish, Muslim, and Christian organizations. He is the recipient of commissions and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Composers Forum, the Iowa Choral Directors Association, the Iowa Composers Forum, and the Iowa Arts Council.

He has conducted the Grinnell Singers on concert tours across the U.S., and in Estonia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey. The ensemble has been invited to perform at two regional ACDA conventions. The Grinnell Singers have recorded Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, as well as a CD with Jonathan Dove’s The Passing of the Year as its centerpiece. His translation of Pavel Chesnokov’s seminal treatise, The Choir and How to Direct It is published by Musica Russica.