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Renowned choirmaster to conduct St. Charles Singers’ season-finale concerts

ST. CHARLES – English choirmaster and composer Philip Moore – the former music director at York Minster Cathedral – will make his Chicago-area conducting debut when he leads the St. Charles Singers in an all-British season-finale program Saturday, May 17, in River Forest and Sunday, May 18, in St. Charles.

The St. Charles concert will take place at 4 p.m. at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave.; and the River Forest concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St.

The capstone program of the St. Charles Singers’ 30th concert season is titled “Bouquet of Voices,” and will offer the U.S. premiere of Moore’s “At the round earth’s imagined corners” – a choral setting of a religious sonnet by English Renaissance poet John Donne.

The program will be the St. Charles Singers’ first concert in the River Forest-Oak Park area since the mixed-voice professional chamber choir was founded three decades ago, according to a news release.

There will be 37 ensemble members of the St. Charles Singers performing.

Brass, organ and percussion will accompany the choir in the Judgment Day meditation.

Brass will include four trumpets, French horn, three trombones and a tuba. The percussion section will comprise timpani, snare and bass drums, cymbals, glockenspiel and xylophone.

The program will span from the English Renaissance to present day, offering sacred and secular music, including arrangements of British folk songs, works about peace (with Memorial Day in mind), and works that celebrate the joys of spring.

The program also will include Edward Bairstow’s “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent;” Benjamin Britten’s “The Evening Primrose;” William Byrd’s “Solve, iubente Deo;” John Clements’s “Flower of Beauty;” Herbert Howells’s “Magnificat;” Gustav Holst’s “I Love My Love;” Peter Knight’s arrangement of John David’s “You Are the New Day;” and Felix Mendelssohn’s “Verleigh uns Freiden,” among others.

Trained in the cathedral-performance traditions of England, Moore held the post of organist and master of the music at York Minster cathedral for 20 years. He studied at the Royal College of Music and has held the posts of assistant organist at Canterbury Cathedral and organist and master of the choristers at Guildford Cathedral, states the release.

St. Charles Singers’ founder and artistic director Jeffrey Hunt invited Moore to lead the chamber choir’s May concerts after England’s John Rutter, who was originally scheduled to conduct, withdrew due to health concerns, the release states.

“Philip Moore comes from the same tradition of British music that’s always played such an important part in the life of the St. Charles Singers,” Hunt said in the release. “With his participation, we’ll be able present the same type of concert we originally envisioned, but with another revered English composer-conductor on the podium.”

Single tickets for the May “Bouquet of Voices” concerts are $40 general adult admission, $30 for seniors ages 65 and older and $10 for students.

Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at or by calling 630-513-5272.

Tickets are also available at Town House Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles. (Tickets may only be purchased using checks or cash at Town House Books.)

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

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