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Illinois Wesleyan Collegiate Choir to Perform in Kankakee

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –– The Collegiate Choir from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, will present a freewill concert at Asbury United Methodist Church, 196 South Harrison Avenue, Kankakee, Illinois, on Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m.

This concert is one of six appearances the choir will make during its 2020 spring concert tour. The itinerary includes performances in Illinois and South Africa. In South Africa the choir will present a joint concert with the University of Stellenbosch Chamber Choir at the renowned Woordfees cultural arts festival in Stellenbosch. This festival is the largest of its kind in the country and includes music, visual arts, theatre, writers’ and film festivals, among other offerings. The Collegiate Choir is the first American choir to be invited to perform at Woordfees. The choir will present additional concerts in the Cape Town and Stellenbosch areas, including a performance at a rural township school.

The Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Choir has established a long history of excellence through its on-campus performances, annual tours, and recordings. The Choir also sponsors the IWU Choral Commission Series, which in its 69-year history has added many significant works to the choral repertoire and resulted in a number of important world premieres at Illinois Wesleyan University.

The Collegiate Choir is composed of student musicians representing the School of Music and other areas of the University, and is dedicated to the performance of the finest sacred and secular choral music spanning six centuries and a variety of languages. Members are selected by audition and maintain a rigorous rehearsal schedule in preparation for their concert tour and other engagements throughout the year.

The Choir, under the direction of J. Scott Ferguson, Director of Choral Activities at Illinois Wesleyan University, has received acclaim for the “breath-taking beauty and skill of the voices, the superb repertoire, and the awesome musicality.” Programs have been called “wonderfully well-selected, versatile, interesting, and musical.” An Estonian conductor praised the choir’s “clear intonation, beautiful and sound harmony, multifarious strokes, and broad dynamic scale.” A renowned Czech conductor noted, “I was overwhelmed by the great intonation, precise rhythm, beautiful work with dynamics, and incredible stylistic interpretation of compositions from all style periods and genres.”

This year’s tour program includes sacred and secular music from the Romantic period to the contemporary era by Johannes Brahms, François Poulenc, Gabriel Jackson, Jake Runestad, Hendrik Hofmeyr, Pärt Uusberg, Ērik Ešenvalds, and Vaclovas Augustinas, and arrangements of American folk hymns and Afro-American spirituals by Shawn Kirchner, Robert Fountain, and Stacey Gibbs.

Featured works on the program include the motet Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz (Create in me a clean heart, O God), Op. 29 No. 2 by Johannes Brahms and the most recent addition to the Illinois Wesleyan University Collegiate Choir Commission Series, The wicked are like the troubled sea by the renowned South African composer Hendrik Hofmeyr. This dramatic motet for eight-part choir juxtaposes texts from the Old Testament regarding the evils of violent oppression with ones from the Gospel according to St. Matthew concerning the virtues of peaceful forbearance.

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