Connecticut Chamber Choir celebrates 40 years of camaraderie

Classical music played with passion, joy and a commitment to the craft is the heart of the Connecticut Chamber Choir (CCC). This year, CCC is celebrating its 40th season.

“Time flies when you’re having fun!” Terence Wu, bass and CCC president, said.

The CCC is presenting two concerts, including a special 40th anniversary gala. Soundscapes, featuring Koshinski’s Concerto for Marimba and Choir with Percussion, takes place April 22 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Stamford. Lux Aeterna, the gala concert, takes place May 6 at St. Theresa Church in Trumbull. The show will feature Karolina Wojteczko, mezzo-soprano; Elijah Blaisdell, baritone; and Galen Tate on organ. Following the concert is a dinner and fund-raiser at Tashua Knolls in Trumbull. Current and former directors will be honored while raising funds for CCC’s future programs.

Performing in his 33rd concert with CCC has been a wonderful experience of friendship, networking and beautiful music, said Michael Jackson, CCC vice president and tenor. “There has really been a core group of people that has kept the group’s constancy and mission alive throughout the 40 years,” Jackson said.

“CCC tries to make every performance a memorable experience for both its members and its audience. We hope our presentation of the music engages and moves the audience in such a way that they come away with their own personal appreciation of the music,” Wu said.

The CCC was founded in 1978 by Richard Erickson, who was a music educator for more than 30 years in the Trumbull school system and who developed and conducted it until his retirement in 2008. Then it was known as L’Ensemble Musicale. Today, CCC comprises 30 singers who are either professional musicians or have formal collegiate music training. Constance Chase, a lyric soprano, accomplished soloist, and adjunct professor in applied voice at Western Connecticut State University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts, was named artistic director in 2008. Through bi-annual performances of significant choral repertoire, including sacred and secular choral works spanning the 16th through the 21st Centuries and representing all musical periods and styles, the CCC has become the region’s premiere vocal ensemble.

Eight-year member Chad Morrison, baritone and treasurer of the choir, said the CCC provides an extremely high expectation of artistry and attention to detail, and honors recent and living composers. “Once I got involved, the sense of community and camaraderie made it feel like home,” said Morrison.

Soundscapes

In this concert, CCC explores a variety of sonic experiences. “In choral music, words are, of course, a hugely important component. Three of the offerings are atmospheric expressions of ancient texts. The fourth, however, is strictly about sounds,” Chase explained. It’s the CCC’s first concert with a marimba and percussion ensemble, featuring Gene Koshinski’s Concerto for Marimba and Choir with Percussion. “It treats the singers as percussion instruments as well. Instead of words, they sing syllables chosen not to convey meaning in the traditional sense but to create an effect. At other points, the singers create voiceless sounds that contribute to the energy and fabric of the piece,” she said.

Lux Aeterna

Erickson and other alumni are expected to perform with the CCC for its gala concert. Latin for “eternal light,” Lux Aeterna is slated to feature 20th-Century favorites in addition to traditional American hymn tunes re-imagined by current American composers.

“Our intention was to look first at giant works in choral music’s recent past, then to acknowledge our American choral tradition through the lens of contemporary composers who represent the present and the future of choral music,” Chase said. Lux Aeterna will feature two emerging artists — Karolina Wojteczko, mezzo-soprano, and Elijah Blaisdell, baritone.

For more information visit www.ctchamberchoir.org.

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