New season nears for old choir

Critic's Corner//Music

August 29, 2006|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,Sun Music Critic

Voices will be warming up soon for the 2006-2007 season, including those of the area's oldest choral ensemble, the Handel Choir of Baltimore. Founded in 1934, the group has been steadily improving its musical assets since Melinda O'Neal started her tenure as artistic director in 2004.

The choir's subscription concerts for the new season will include an all-Bach program sung by a newly formed, chamber-sized choir-within-the-choir called the Chandos Singers. This November program will include the Wedding Cantata and the motet Jesu, meine Freude.

Handel's Messiah is the full choir's focus in December. Due in March is a venture with Pro Musica Rara, Baltimore's long-established period instrument group, and Peabody Conservatory's early music ensemble. This program will offer Renaissance music and works by Bach and Handel (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne).

And The Creation, one of Haydn's choral masterworks, will be performed in April. The Handel Choir's own period instrument orchestra will be featured throughout the season.

Several nonsubscription events, including a "Bach for Kids" concert, are also on the schedule.

Various performance venues will be used. Call 410-366-6544 or visit

Concert Artists

The vocal and orchestral components of the Concert Artists of Baltimore, led by founding artistic director Edward Polochick, will get a good workout during the '06-'07 season, starting with the opening program in October devoted to Beethoven. Excerpts from symphonies, concertos and choral pieces will be interwoven through this narrated concert.

An operatic program in December will feature various singers from the ensemble. In February, the chorus will sing a Mass by Vaughan Williams in a concert that also offers a piano concerto by Shostakovich (with soloist Brian Ganz) and a work by Britten.

Old American songs and traditional spirituals will be heard in May, along with instrumental favorites by Saint-Saens (Carnival of the Animals) and Copland (Appalachian Spring).

These events will be at the Gordon Center in Owings Mills. A chamber music series presented by Concert Artists will be held at the Engineers Club in Baltimore.

Call 410-625-3525 or visit

Nathan Carter benefit

The late Nathan Carter, who built the Morgan State University Choir into an ensemble fully deserving of the designation "world-class," is being memorialized not just by the continuation of his chorus, but also a scholarship fund for music students at the university. A concert to benefit that fund, sponsored by the Nathan Carter Foundation, will be held next month, featuring the Heritage Signature Chorale of Washington led by Morgan alumnus Stanley Thurston.

Joining the chorale will be exceptional soprano Janice Chandler Eteme (a member of Morgan's music faculty) and the fine tenor Issachah Savage (another Morgan alumnus).

The concert will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 23 at Morgan's Murphy Fine Arts Center, 2201 Argonne Drive. For tickets, call 443-885-4440.

Boychoir auditions

The Maryland State Boychoir, the uplifting, Baltimore-based organization that provides quality musical training and fraternal nurturing, will audition prospective members, ages 7 to 18, Sept. 16 and 30. Eligibility requirements include "a good musical ear, a natural singing voice, and the capability of a strong commitment to this educational/performance opportunity."

Call 410-668-2003.

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