Grant Park Chorus Soars in American Program

July 01, 2009

It was an enlightening experience to hear the Grant Park Chorus sans symphony, as the singers took the spotlight Tuesday night at the Harris Theater.

Accomplished as the Grant Park Orchestra performances have been this season, it was an enlightening experience to hear the Grant Park Chorus sans symphony, as the singers took the spotlight Tuesday night at the Harris Theater.

The Grant Park Chorus has an extremely demanding summer with Shostakovich’s Song of the Forests and Michael Torke’s Plans behind them, and the Fourth of July concert, Beethoven’s Ninth, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, no less, all in the coming weeks.

The fact that these fine singers distinguished themselves with technical polish and expressive depth in such a challenging program is a testament to their artistry and versatility—as well as the yeoman work of chorus director Christopher Bell in building this ensemble to its present high standard.

Bill McGlaughlin was the master of ceremonies for the evening. The host of WFMT’s Exploring Music provided folksy asides and impromptu interaction and exchanges with Bell and the singers, which were sometimes illuminating, sometimes awkward, and occasionally bizarre, as with his requests to encore passages of works that were just performed. The funniest, albeit inadvertent moment of the evening came when after one of McGlaughlin’s discursive monologues, he asked if Bell had noted a similarity to the work just performed and another obscure piece, to which Bell candidly replied, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening to what you were saying.” Read the full article at www.chicagoclassicalreview.com.

Lawrence Johnson, Chicago Classical Review.