20th Anniversary Celebration: Reflections and Memories, part II

Sep 10, 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.

Peter van de Graaf, Program Director, WFMT

All of us here at WFMT join in extending our congratulations and gratitude to Chicago a cappella for the countless hours of pleasure in the concert hall, in recordings, and, especially for us, on our airwaves over the past 20 years. That amount of time is no small feat in the arts world and speaks to the incredibly high level of artistry you have been able to maintain over such a long period of time. May you continue for countless years into the future!


Trevor Mitchell, tenor

http://www.chicagoacappella.org/about/artists#trevor_mitchellWhat has been your favorite Chicago a cappella concert to sing in and why?

I’d have to say I have 3 favorites. Intimate a cappella because we were only 5 and the blend, intimacy and breadth of repertoire was amazing.  Go Down, Moses and Days of Awe, both for the same reasons.  The programs represented the depth, pathos and joy of a once oppressed people who persevered and made wonderful music in the process. The latter 2 concerts were deeply emotional for me, and while being musically and vocally challenging, it was worth it.

Tell us a favorite memory involving Chicago a cappella.

During a performance of "Hineni" and being so connected to the text and the connection with the audience, and thinking that we were all one in those moments.  No age, race, religion, etc. The difficulties of the score totally went away during the performances.


Besty Grizzell, mezzo

What has been your favorite piece to sing with Chicago a cappella?

I adore Chen Yi’s "The West Lake." Though very difficult, it presents a beautiful sonic picture of a rippling lake. It brings me right to my favorite place, the family cabin on Pike Lake in northern Wisconsin.

Tell us a favorite memory involving Chicago a cappella.

I had the privilege of programming the All About the Women concert. I picked the music, arranged several of the tunes, and crafted the program along with our guest, actor Barbara Robertson. Coming into the first performance, I was unsure as to whether or not the audience would appreciate the intense drama of the journey presented in the second half of the program. Having them burst into applause at the end was extremely gratifying.



Aaron Johnson, bass (1998-2007)

What was one of your favorite concerts with Chicago a cappella?

One of my favorite and most memorable concerts was my very first performance with CAC in spring of 1998, Tastes of Paradise. The program was filled with unique, challenging, and fun music, such as the American premiere of Bob Chilcott's "Fragments from His Dish", which quickly became an ensemble favorite. It was also the first time I had ever been part of such intimate, high-caliber music-making. I believe it is this mix of excellence and enjoyment that has attracted singers and spectators to Chicago a cappella for these past 20 years.

Tell us a favorite memory involving Chicago a cappella.

I clearly remember my serendipitous audition for Chicago a cappella. Jonathan was looking for a last-minute replacement and had gotten my name from another director in town, with whom I was unable to sing because of schedule conflicts. Jonathan and I met in a tiny practice room at Northwestern University (in the "beehive"). I sang a couple pieces in different styles, got through some challenging sight reading, and sang in unison and then in harmony with Jonathan. I passed the audition and, luckily, had no scheduling conflicts! Little did I know that would be the start of a decade of making music with Chicago a cappella.

A tour memory: On our tour to Mexico we took several planes to get to the town where we were performing. During one of our transfers our host warned us we were about to board a "very small plane". We reached the tarmac and saw a small, but average-sized commuter plane. "That's not so bad," someone said, to which the guide replied, "That's not your plane. This is your plane," pointing to what looked like a minivan with wings. Good thing Kathleen had brought her rosary.


Carol LoVerde, founding member, soprano (1993-2001)

Tell us a favorite memory involving Chicago a cappella.

I am so proud and happy to add my voice to the chorus of musicians, supporters and admirers who celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Chicago a cappella with Jonathan, performers, and all the staff and board!! The debut concert was a highlight for me because of the music choices and the ensemble! This was one of the most exciting performances of my career. There are way too many favorite pieces, but one that stands out for me is Jerry Troxell's "Prayers of Steel". Love our Holidays a cappella CD, Palestrina, and The Music of Frank Lloyd Wright. Great programming and always fantastic program notes!!! Keep celebrating and my very best wishes for continued success!!


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