20th Anniversary Celebration: Reflections and Memories

Aug 7, 2013

As Chicago a cappella approaches its 20th birthday, we're looking back at our favorite moments on and off the stage. Join us as we reflect on 20 successful years! Stay tuned for more from our singers and friends throughout the season.

Founder and Artistic Director Jonathan Miller

What has been your favorite Chicago a cappella concert to sing in (or music direct) and why?

As a singer, my favorites shows were Chicago, Chicago (just so danged much fun), The Intimate A Cappella (beautlful music, sung right after 9/11 in a way that affirmed life poignantly for me) and The Nordic Wolf (an amazing collaboration with exquisite repertoire).

As a composer, I love having my new works come to life, and the piece I’m the most proud of the ensemble for performing is my Old Testament Spirituals that we did on the Wade in the Water show in early 2012.

As music director, Genius in the Synagogue. It was wonderful to dig deeply into Max Janowski’s musical life and to paint a portrait of him with his own creations.

While I took none of these roles for Days of Awe and Rejoicing, but rather worked more behind the scenes in programming and Hebrew coaching, that show will endure as one of the best things I’ve done in my whole creative life. It was really special.

What was your favorite piece to sing with Chicago a cappella?

My top five list:
• Hoss Brock’s arrangement of “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
• Bob Chilcott’s cycle about food, Fragments from his dish.
• My own “Where the Bee Sucks—Funk Version.”
• The Credo from Forestier’s Missa “L’homme armé.”
• “Prayers of Steel” by Jerry Troxell.

Tell us a favorite memory involving Chicago a cappella.

Being part of the Navidad en México performance at St. Agnes of Bohemia in Little Village. It was a transcendent experience.  Jorge Córdoba and the singers connected with that audience in a profound way, and I will never forget it.

What are you most looking forward to in the 2013-14 season?

Bringing old repertoire back with the current roster for our Best of CAC program this fall, which I’m directing. We are sounding so good these days – better than ever. To bring that sound to repertoire drawn from our whole history will be a delight for me.

 

From Executive Director and bass Matt Greenberg

What has been your favorite Chicago a cappella concert to sing in and why?

All About the Women was probably my favorite, because of the dramatic aspect of the show.  The wonderful actress Barbara Robertson brought such humor and humanity to the performance, and the program that Betsy created was both fun and substantive.  Also, it was just really fun music to sing!

Tell us a favorite memory involving Chicago a cappella.

I remember riding in the car with Jonathan Miller after a singing gig, which is how we had met, when he described this group he was hoping to create.  This was probably 1992.  He was envisioning a small ensemble of fine singers who could convincingly perform any style of music, from Renaissance to pop.  His dream was to create a group that reveled in a wide variety of genres, created intimate performances, and had the highest possible musical standards. When he asked me, "Is that something you might be interested in?," I didn't miss a beat: "That pretty much describes exactly what I'd like to do!"

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