Our 82nd Season: 2017-2018
The theme of our 82nd season, “Music – The Universal Language,” explored how music allows us to communicate across linguistic and cultural boundaries. By engaging with music from four continents; taking inspiration from the massive singing demonstrations which helped return independence to the Baltic States; and through two uplifting interpretations of the Requiem, we are reminded of how music reaches deep into our common human experience.
Our November concert, “Music of the Americas,” presented a wide variety of music that is influenced by the composers’ roots in their respective countries. We were joined by mezzo-soprano Christianne Rushton and cellist Francisco L. Malespin. From the sun-soaked summers in Brazil celebrated in the lively Alma Llanera and Verano Porteno, to the pristine winters of Canada, evoked in Sarah Quartel’s Snow Angel, musicians and audience alike enjoyed the diverse compositional standpoints expressed in this glorious music.
The second concert in NSCS’s 82nd season, “Music for Social Change: Africa, America, and the Singing Revolution of Estonia,” celebrated the power of music as a vehicle for expressing that which cannot be expressed any other way: the forbidden music of one’s own homeland, sung by crowds defying an empire; music to promote healthy actions in the face of an epidemic; music that energizes and amplifies the causes of civil rights, human rights, and the environment. For this concert we collaborated with Mollie Stone, educator, conductor, and expert on Black South African Music, along with special guests The Chicago Children’s Choir Hyde Park Presto Ensemble. Our final concert of the season offered two settings of the Requiem, one by 19th-century French composer Gabriel Fauré, and the other by contemporary British composer Bob Chilcott. Both works feature peaceful, contemplative settings of the ancient text of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead. The concert with full orchestra and chorus featured past Donald Chen Young Artist Award winners Kateri Gormley, soprano; Ryan Townsend Strand, tenor; and Kyle Sackett, baritone. With these two related, yet distinctive pieces, our final concert of the 2017-28 season was an uplifting one, pointing towards light, hope, and peace.
Our 81st Season: 2016-2017
This season's theme was “Renewal!” It opened with Glory!, our November concert of new and familiar holiday music including John Rutter's Gloria and Daniel Pinkham's Christmas Cantata. We collaborated once again with the Chicago Bronze English Handbell Ensemble under the direction of Andrea Handley, who wrote an exciting concert finale commissioned for this occasion.
Our March concert, Psalms Old and New, highlighted several settings of the 23rd Psalm, as well as Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms and Tarik O’Regan’s Dorchester Canticles. Tenor Nathan Ward, winner of the 2016 Donald Chen Young Artist Award, was a featured soloist, along with William Lewis, treble, and accompaniment was by Ben Melsky, harpist.
In April we celebrated Earth Day with an encore performance of contemporary masterpiece Missa Gaia (Earth Mass), brought back by popular demand. Joining us once again were Felicia Patton, soprano; Thomas W. Jefferson, piano; and John Wojciechowski, soprano sax; as well as the Evanston Children’s Choir under the direction of Gary Geiger, and enidsmithdance.
In addition, we joined the Evanston Symphony Orchestra in December for their traditional holiday program An Evanston Symphony Christmas and again in June for Gustav Mahler’s second symphony, The Resurrection.
Our 80th Season: 2015-2016
The theme of our 80th Anniversary season was "Songs of Peace" to Sing, Share, and Inspire! In addition to concerts, we planned events involving schools, community organizations, and peace groups. Faith Keady was our Conducting Apprentice this season.
NSCS was represented at the One State in the Arts conference held in Evanston, September 27th – 29th. NSCS members served as volunteers at the conference, and a NSCS concert recording was played during lunch. The NSCS 80th Anniversary video was available for viewing throughout the conference.
In the fall we held an 80th anniversary party for members, alumni, family, and friends; here is a link to the 80th Anniversary slide presentation (3.5 MB PowerPoint file) shown at the party. Plus we joined the Evanston Symphony Orchestra for their traditional holiday program An Evanston Symphony Christmas on December 6, 2015. The NSCS presented a Holiday Concert at Three Crowns Park Retirement Community in Evanston on Sunday, December 13, 2015.