season as a professional choir.
“At my interview in July of 1981,” says Kesselman, “the search committee asked me how I would feel about starting a professional chorus at College of DuPage. I was delighted that the college leadership had the vision to see what such a group could bring to the college and its community. Of course, I said that I'd be thrilled and honored. I have been ever since.”
In its first twenty-four years, NCS has delighted DuPage audiences with a blend of sacred and secular choral music like no other group in the Chicago area. The ensemble has brought dozens of guest artists, commissioned or premiered more than one new work each year, and has explored repertoire from the entire world, singing classics, world music, contemporary and popular music in every season. This 25th anniversary season is no exception.
The season begins on Nov 4 with OF NORTHERN LANDS — music from the Northern hemisphere including music by Brahms and Debussy, music from Lithuania and Canada, and a newly commissioned work from New York composer Daniel Brewbaker on words by Carl Sandburg. Elgin (IL) native Brewbaker will feature longtime NCS accompanist William Buhr as he celebrates his 20th season with the ensemble.
NCS continues its anniversary season with its annual pair of holiday concerts — A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS on Dec 16, and FAMILY CHRISTMAS ALBUM 25 on Dec 17 for more mature audiences. “Both concerts program high-quality, beautiful music for the holidays,” says Kesselman, “but we scale the CHILD’S concert for younger audiences with a visit from Santa, carol sing-alongs, and a shorter concert.” The theme of the Dec 17 concert is “Homage to the Rose.” Both concerts will feature harpist Stephen Hartman.
The March 3 concert will focus on the great sacred MOTETS OF J. S. Bach. “Bach has been an integral part of NCS’ life” says Kesselman. “Some of our most popular concerts have been Bach’s b-minor Mass, the St. John Passion and motets. We’ll do a number of the motets on one program, with some of Chicago’s finest instrumental soloists.”
The final concert of the 25th season will be A NEW CREATION on May 12. This celebration of creation, creativity and nature will be one of the ‘theme’ concerts that have made NCS distinct throughout its history. This concert will feature the Midwest premiere of director Kesselman’s “This Grand Show is Eternal” to words of John Muir, first sung in San Francisco last year. Other works will include Ruth Watson Henderson’s “Make Me A World” and Alberto Grau’s “Kasar mie la gahi.”
Summing up the season, Kesselman says, “If you want to be entertained, warmed, challenged, and amazed by the beauty of the human voice, each of this season’s concert should do all those things. For 24 years, New Classic Singers has brought great music and words to this community. We look forward to sharing another year with our audiences, new and old.”