John Rutter’s Gloria, beloved carols and hymns, and the rich sounds of festive brass make for the perfect beginning to every family’s holiday season. Bel Canto Chorus and Boy Choirs and the Stained Glass Brass will fill the Basilica with song, bringing the music of Christmas to vivid, joyful life.
This season, titled “The Fine Art of Music”, Bel Canto incorporates a visual arts dimension to its performances by linking paintings, woodcuts, and sketches from The David Barnett Gallery to the musical repertoire performed at each concert. The featured artwork for Christmas in the Basilica is Nativity Setting, by Ruth Grotenrath. Grotenrath and her husband Schomer Lichtner created thousands of paintings during their lives in Milwaukee, including a whimsical collection of Christmas cards from the 1950s and 1960s. An exhibit of their Christmas silk screens will be on display before and after the concert, courtesy of the David Barnett Gallery.
To purchase tickets ($25-$50), call the Box Office at (414) 481-8801 or visit http://www.belcanto.org. Senior, student, and group discounts are available.
About Richard Hynson
This season marks Richard Hynson’s 25th anniversary season as Music Director of Bel Canto Chorus. Since 2006, Hynson has also served as Music Director of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. In addition to his work as a conductor and educator, Hynson is a composer. He has written a substantial body of published choral, vocal, and ensemble works, many of which he has recorded with Bel Canto Chorus singers. The U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants have frequently performed Hynson’s “In the Midst of Life”, composed in response to the events of September 11.
About Bel Canto Chorus
Formed in 1931, Bel Canto Chorus is Southeastern Wisconsin’s longest continuously performing arts organization. It is made up of mostly volunteer singers from southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Under the direction of Richard Hynson, the chorus opened its 81st season on Sunday afternoon, September 11, 2011 with “United We Stand” in Cathedral Square park. This free concert marking the tenth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks featured Mozart’s Requiem and Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” with the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra. “The chorus sang with force and assurance, easily separating the complex vocal lines… and following Hynson's judicious phrasing in when to hold back and when to let go.” (David Lewellen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
About Bel Canto Boy Choirs
The Bel Canto Boy Choirs were formed in August 2009, under the direction of Ellen M. Shuler. As Milwaukee’s only boy choirs, the groups consist of talented boys with changed and unchanged voices.
About Stained Glass Brass
Stained Glass Brass is comprised of full-time professional musicians who also perform regularly with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Florentine Opera Orchestra, Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra, Skylight Opera Orchestra, and Chicago Symphony Brass Ensemble among many other ensembles throughout the Midwest.
About Kevin Bailey
Kevin Bailey is the Director of Worship and Music at Fox Point Lutheran Church, where he is organist and choir director. He is a graduate of Augustana College (IL) and Indiana University. His principal teachers for organ have been Tom Robin Harris and Christopher Young, and he studied church music and improvisation with Marilyn Keiser. He has accompanied and conducted choirs at Anderson University (IN) and served as choir director and organist at several churches in Indiana before moving to Milwaukee in 2003. Bailey remains active outside the church as an accompanist and continuo performer, and served as the accompanist for the Master Singers of Milwaukee from 2004 to 2008.
About David Barnett Gallery
Established in 1966, the David Barnett Gallery is Wisconsin’s premier gallery and has the broadest range of art available in any Wisconsin gallery, including works of art that represent more than 600 artists. The gallery specializes in European and American masters, regional and nationally recognized artists, and “emerging”
About The Basilica of St. Josaphat
The Basilica of St. Josaphat, located at 2333 S. 6th Street in the Lincoln Village neighborhood of Milwaukee, is one of 62 minor basilicas in the United States. Its grandeur and opulence is an excellent example of the “Polish Cathedral” style of church architecture found in the Great Lakes region of North America. Modeled after St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, it features one of the largest copper domes in the world. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a designated Milwaukee Landmark.