Elgin Master Chorale 75th Anniversary Concert
Elgin Master Chorale to celebrate 75th season with commissioned piece
By Rick West (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Elgin Master Chorale will celebrate its 75th anniversary season with the North American premiere of a piece commissioned for the occasion.
“The World Imagined,” the result of a three-year collaboration between acclaimed English choral composer Gabriel Jackson and Elgin Master Chorale maestro Andrew Lewis, will highlight a May 15 concert at the Blizzard Theatre at Elgin Community College. Jackson will be flying in to see the piece make its American debut.
“We’re really thrilled to have him here, and we’re really proud to have this piece marking our 75th anniversary,” said Alison Bleick, chorale board president and a member of the chorus.
“The World Imagined” is a 45-minute oratorio described as a work that “examines creation and humankind’s small yet transformative place in our infinite universe.”
The program also features “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and an original poem presented by Elgin poet laureate Gareth Mann.
The choir will be joined by Lyric Opera tenor soloist Hoss Brock and the Elgin Symphony Orchestra.
Tickets for the 3:30 p.m. performance can be purchased at the Blizzard Theatre box office or by phone at (847) 622-0300.
The choir, the oldest in the Fox Valley, was founded in 1947 as a union of several church choirs and was aptly dubbed the Elgin Choral Union. It changed its name in 2014 to The Elgin Master Chorale.
The group usually consists of about 85 to 90 singers,
Bleick said, though the numbers are down a little since the pandemic.
The nonprofit organization is based at Elgin Community College and is a class that can be taken for credit, though most members do not.
The chorus is led by Lewis, who has been music director for almost 20 years and has professional section leaders.
“The rest of us are amateur singers, and I do mean amateur in the best sense of the word,” said Bleick, who has been singing for about 18 years. “We’re volunteers and we’re very passionate about what we do.”
Bleick said the choir is all ages and includes people who are just out of college and up to folks in their 70s and 80s.
“A lot of people feel that it’s kind of an extended family,” she said.