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Local

St. Charles Singers to explore Mozart rarities

The celebrated St. Charles Singers, helmed by founder and Music Director Jeff Hunt (center), will perform an all-Mozart program Sept. 30 in St. Charles and Oct. 1 in Elgin.
The celebrated St. Charles Singers, helmed by founder and Music Director Jeff Hunt (center), will perform an all-Mozart program Sept. 30 in St. Charles and Oct. 1 in Elgin.

ST. CHARLES – The St. Charles Singers will launch the 34th concert season with a new installment of the professional chamber choir’s “Mozart Journey,” its multiyear project to perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s complete religious choral music.

The mixed-voice ensemble, conducted by founder and Music Director Jeffrey Hunt, and the Metropolis Chamber Orchestra will present “Mozart Journey XII” at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles, and at 4 p.m. Oct. 1, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 397 Fulton St., Elgin.

“Audiences will hear some of Mozart’s lesser-known but most transcendent choral works,” Hunt stated in a news release.

Featuring a choir of 32 voices, the 12th installment in the "Mozart Journey" series offers music that will appeal to those who enjoy Mozart’s symphonies and operas, Hunt said. The “Litaniae de venerabili altaris sacramento” ("Litany in Honor of the Blessed Sacrament") in B-flat Major, K. 125, enlists soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists, with four-part chorus and an orchestra of woodwinds, brass and strings along with organ accompaniment.

A highlight of Mozart’s festive “Regina coeli” ("Queen of Heaven") in C Major, K. 108, is a delicate, demanding operatic soprano solo with florid passages and wide vocal leaps, according to the release, which notes the uplifting final movement has been compared to a miniature symphony finale.

Mozart’s “Misericordias Domini” ("Mercies of the Lord") in D-minor, K.222, has been described as a “masterpiece of counterpoint.” Mozart wrote it to demonstrate his skill at writing multiple melody lines that work perfectly together.

The chamber orchestra will perform Mozart’s high-spirited Symphony No. 12 in G Major, K. 110. Mozart, then 15 years old, wrote the charming short symphony in 1771, the same year as the “Regina coeli,” K. 108, also in the program. The symphony’s exuberant finale includes an exotic, Near Eastern touch derived from the Hungarian and Gypsy musical influences that found their way to Mozart’s Austria from the frontiers of the Turkish Empire.

A preconcert lecture by Wheaton College Professor of Music Jonathan Saylor will begin an hour before each Mozart Journey performance.

Mozart Journey XII singers

Sopranos include Jeanne Fornari and Alexandra Jimenez, both Batavia; Marybeth Kurnat, Cortland; Laura Johnson, Hanover Park; Cynthia Spiegel, La Fox; Meredith Du Bon and Jennifer Gingrich, Naperville; and AnDréa James and Jessica Palmisano, both of St. Charles.

Altos are Christina Collins, Arlington Heights; Sarah Underhill, Aurora; Valerie Heinkel-Bollero, Batavia; Grace Hornak, Glendale Heights; Julie Popplewell, North Aurora, Bridget Kancler, Oak Park, Chelsea Rhoades, Sycamore, and Debby Wilder, Wheeling.

The tenor section will include Rob Campbell and Christopher Jackson, DeKalb; Bryan Kunstman and Bradley Staker, both of Elburn; Gregor King, Sycamore; David Hunt, Wayne; and Steve Williamson, West Chicago.

Mozart Journey XII basses are Jess Koehn and Michael Thoms, both of Aurora: Brandon Fox, Batavia; Antonio Quaranta, Carol Stream; Nate Coon, Crystal Lake; Michael Popplewell, North Aurora; Chris Dimarco, Naperville; and Jens Hurty, Yorkville.

Single tickets cost $35 for general admission seating, $30 for ages 65 and older, and $10 for students.Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available at stcharlessingers.com or by calling 630-513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles, with checks or cash only at that ticket venue. Tickets also may be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability.

ClassicsToday.com calls the ensemble “one of North America’s outstanding choirs,” citing “charisma and top-notch musicianship” that “bring character and excitement to each piece.”

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