It Was A Lover and His Lass Program Notes and Text

Nov 9, 2020

John Rutter: It was a lover and his lass
One of the most oft-performed living choral-music composers, John Rutter knows the choral art inside and out. From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings. After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting. In 2002 his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Service of Thanksgiving in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.

Penned in 1975, this light, breezy, jazzy song in five voice parts gives the feeling of a summer wedding — after the vows are done and the happy couple skips down the aisle. In fact, Chicago a cappella sang this piece on just such an occasion in 1993, the year in which we were first formed.

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;

Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that life was but a flower
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

And, therefore, take the present time
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crown`d with the prime
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.
—As You Like It, Act V, Scene iii

HerVoice: The Emerging Women Composer Competition

Oct 28, 2020

Chicago a cappella is pleased to announce a competition and mentorship program for women composers.  This opportunity is open to women of all ages and is intended to promote the work of promising composers and provide hands-on training to further their skills in choral composition.

We are seeking composers who are eager to improve their skill at choral composition in particular.  Women composers who live in the Chicago area, those whose career is in its early stages (i.e. no national presence), and women composers of color are particularly encouraged to apply.

Stacy GarropOne winner will be chosen selected to receive personal mentorship and advice on the submitted piece via virtual one-on-ones with acclaimed composer Stacy Garrop (pictured), Chicago a cappella Artistic Director John William Trotter, and singers from the ensemble.  In addition, the winner will be invited to attend an early rehearsal of her work, with the opportunity to receive feedback and make changes to the score.  The piece will be performed by Chicago a cappella during the 2021-22 season, with a performance recording available to the composer for non-commercial use.

In addition, all composers who submit will be invited to participate in a virtual meeting with Stacy Garrop regarding the business side of composing, and an additional informal group conversation about issues pertaining to navigating a career as a female composer.

Requirements:  Submit a piece for a cappella choral ensemble with no more than 10 voice parts (SSSAATTBBB).  The piece should be between 3-5 minutes in length.  Texts used must be public domain or have written permission from copyright holder. Submissions must be unpublished, unawarded and not previously broadcast.  Previously performed works are acceptable.  Composers may submit a maximum of two pieces.


  • Submission deadline:  April 1, 2021
  • Short interviews (phone or online) for finalists:  April 1-30, 2021
  • Decision announcement:  May 1, 2021
  • Mentoring sessions, initial rehearsal, and group discussions:  between May 1-Sept. 15, 2021
  • Final version of piece completed by Sept. 15, 2021

To submit, email the following:

  • PDF of your piece (hand-written acceptable), without your name anywhere on the score. Name the file as: Title.pdf”.
  • Audio file, if available.  MIDI file acceptable.  Name the file as “Title.pdf”.
  • PDF of brief artist statement (without your name) describing why are you interested in this opportunity.  Maximum word count 300.
  • Include your complete contact information in the body of the email; no name or contact information on the attachments, please.

Submit via email to no later than April 1, 2021. 

Chicago a cappella is one of the area’s most accomplished and innovative vocal ensembles. Performing with an ensemble of 10 singers and no conductor, Chicago a cappella has been hailed as “the area’s best unaccompanied group” (Chicago Magazine) and “the city’s liveliest, most versatile vocal ensemble” (Chicago Tribune). Founded in 1993, the group spans a repertoire from Gregorian chant to the Beatles and beyond. With more than 500 performances to its credit, Chicago a cappella produces an annual concert series in the Chicago area, and it has appeared in 13 American states and in Mexico. The ensemble has been heard frequently on radio nationally and has produced nine CD recordings on the Cedille, Centaur, and Gothic labels. They have been acclaimed for their “clarity, well-balanced tone, and deep emotional involvement” (Washington Post) and “breathtaking ensemble and control” (American Organist).

Stacy Garrop is an award-winning composer with over five dozen choral works to her credit.  Her catalog also includes numerous works for orchestra, opera, oratorio, wind ensemble, art song, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments. She served as the first Emerging Opera Composer of Chicago Opera Theater’s Vanguard Program (2018-2020) and held a 3-year composer-in-residence position with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra (2016-2019).  Garrop is a Cedille Records artist with pieces currently on ten CDs; her works are also commercially available on ten additional labels.  She has received an Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Barlow Prize, and prizes from competitions sponsored by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Omaha Symphony, Boston Choral Ensemble, and Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble.  Recent commissions include works for Grant Park Music Festival Orchestra, Chicago’s Music of the Baroque, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Other notable commissions include works for the Kronos Quartet,  Chanticleer, and the San Francisco Choral Society. She has upcoming commissions with The Crossing and the Soli Deo Gloria Music Foundation among others. She taught composition and orchestration at Roosevelt University (2000-2016) before leaving to launch her freelance career. She earned degrees in music composition at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (B.M.), University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University-Bloomington (D.M.).

“Y es que no sabes” Program Notes & Text/Translation

Oct 14, 2020

Novelli Jurado: Y Es Que No Sabes (And You Do Not Know)
This work was written just for Chicago a cappella while Jurado was composer in residence for our ¡Cantaré! program in 2018. Jurado is originally from Mexico City and now lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Michelle. The two met when the composer was in the Twin Cities for his first ¡Cantaré! residency in 2012.

The composer writes:
The song was composed in a bolero style. Since 1921 this music genre has represented Mexico’s rich musical tradition very well. The lyrics of this genre speak about love and passion. The bolero gained an important place in Mexico's culture with the golden era of Mexico's cinematography (1936-1959) in which, Agustin Lara and Pedro Infante – two of Mexico’s greatest performers – used to act and sing.

The idea with this composition is to share two different approaches to a bolero song. In the first, after an 8-bar introduction, there is the main theme with lots of chord extensions (using chord notes such as the 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th). The second has this same theme in other keys with a more realistic Mexican style, using simple harmony and having the basses sing a melodic line in a very “Latin” way. Also, a tenor and an alto will play maracas and a clave while they sing, which are two instruments very often used in bolero songs. In the middle section there is a bridge where the ensemble breaks in to SSAA to make a thinner sound and to contrast the 7 to 8 voices that both themes have. The final part of the bridge helps to do the transition and prepare the bass’s motives.

Text & Translation

El reloj marca las tres de la mañana The clock shows three in the morning
como si fuera una lagrima as if it were a tear
que se cae por la ventana hacia la calle that falls through the window onto the street
y es que no sabes and you do not know
que te dibujo hasta enloquecer I draw you until I go crazy
y es que no sabes lo que sufro and you do not know what I suffer
cada amanecer sin ti every morning without you
un suspiro calla al nacer a sigh is silent at birth
sin control para así escucharte without control so I can listen to you
caminar y venir a mi walking and coming to me
hay un pacto entre los dos there is a pact between us
En la tarde de colores In the afternoon colors
surgen llamas de amores flames of love arise
como el mío hacia ti hacia ti like mine towards you towards you
tengo hoy tantos recuerdos I have so many memories
que son como el viento that are like the wind
que calla en tu boca that is silent in your mouth
y enciende mis sueños and light my dreams
si estoy a tu lado if I am by your side
besándote cada rincón de tu alma kissing every corner of your soul
Y es que no sabes cuanto huyo And you do not know how much I run away
de mi oscuridad sin ti from my darkness without you
Y es que no sabes cuanto te amo And you do not know how much I love you
cada día más mucho más every day more much more
siempre mi anhelo es verte sonreir always my longing is to see you smile
  - Translation by Novelli Jurado, Printed with Permission


20-21 Virtual Subscription: Frequently Asked Questions

Sep 1, 2020

Why have you chosen to cancel concerts for the year?

While we are deeply disappointed, we do not want to do anything that risks the safety of our singers, audience members, or staff.  Although masks and other safety precautions may reduce the risk, the barriers to creating a completely safe space for concerts at this time are simply too high.  The very nature of our art – singing together – is one of the riskiest endeavors right now.  Of course, we continue to look for creative solutions, and we are hopeful for scientific progress sooner rather than later.  If we discover a way to present a safe in-person event during the 2020-21 season, our Virtual Subscribers will have free tickets guaranteed!

Can I transfer my 20-21 subscription to the 21-22 season?

No, subscriptions for the 21-22 season will not be available until later in 2021.  With the future so full of uncertainty, concert dates and venues unclear, and the long timeline involved, we have decided to offer a virtual subscription – or refund or donation options – instead of a “credit” or transfer option. 

How will I gain access to the online content? Will I receive tickets?

No tickets!  We will send you an email for each new piece of programming as it becomes available.  So, for each new monthly video, each podcast episode, each concert video, etc., you will receive a separate email telling you something new is available for you.  The email will include a special link to access the program.

What technology/software will be needed to access the online content?

Whatever device(s) you already use to access the internet will give you access to our programs.  The special links we provide you in your programming emails will take you directly to the website or other online portal at which you can enjoy the content.  (A good speaker or earphones/earbuds is a nice extra, so you can enjoy the music fully.)  To participate in our Listening Club you may need to download Zoom (we’ll provide instructions), and you will also want to have a camera and microphone so that you can join the conversation, either via a desktop or laptop computer or a smart phone.

What will happen to my guest vouchers for 20-21?

Unfortunately, we don’t have a way for you to share these programs with non-subscribers during this most unusual season.  While we always appreciate you bringing friends to our live concerts, your 2020-21 guest vouchers simply won’t be usable.  We will, however, be providing some additional content – including some new videos – for the general public.  Subscribers will get exclusive first access to this content, and we hope you may want to share that with your friends!

Can I purchase online programs individually?

If you’d rather not subscribe to the entire season, several of this year’s programs will be available on an individual ticket basis.  Our podcast series, Bridging the Gap, as well as our Listening Club sessions and educational webinars will all be available for individual purchase.  

Can I apply my account credit from last season to the Virtual Subscription? 

Yes!  If you received an account credit from April 2020 (“Swing, Swing, Swing”), you may use that toward a Virtual Subscription for 20-21.  Prior to your purchase, simply email Sara Badger with the request at, so she can make sure you are charged correctly.

Statement from Chicago a cappella

Jun 29, 2020

Amid our anger and frustration about continuing violence against Black people and our country’s long history of racial inequity, we at Chicago a cappella understand that it is our responsibility to do everything we can to combat racism. The challenge we face as a society calls for action and accountability, rather than simply good intentions. To that end, our Board of Directors has articulated Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a primary organizational goal.  As we embark on this journey toward justice, we pledge to listen to a broad array of voices, approaching the work with humility and open minds. Over the coming months, we will devise a concrete plan of action that will articulate how we will work to advance toward these ideals in our organization and in the wider community. We will be sharing these plans with you, and we invite you—the loyal audience who has fostered our growth through 27 seasons—to share your perspectives on how we can further this mission.

-Chicago a cappella's Board of Directors

Chicago a cappella Board of Directors

“Polish Splendor” bonus tracks

Jun 12, 2020

Two additional songs included in our 2019 concert "Polish Splendor" were not included on the WFMT broadcast.  Enjoy these two live concert recordings below [clicking on the title will launch a new window to play the mp3 files].

1.  "Czerwone jabłuszko," arranged by Jacek Sykulski

The song "Czerwone jabłuszko" is based on a traditional kujawiak dance tune, which is a genre of tunes in 3/4 time from the Kujawy region. The kujawiak usually has a lyrical melody, not too fast, which is danced

with knees slightly bent.  The tune feels very old and probably is. The text is so well suited to the tune that it also feels old, but this is where we get a surprise. The text dates only from the time of World War II. The tune was being played by street musicians in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation, and it was used as a song of warning to alert people in the underground to the presence of spies, collaborators, and “ladies of light morals” who would deal sympathetically with the Germans.  The prolific composer and arranger Jacek Sykulski is the director of the Poznan Boys’ Choir, a well-known ensemble that tours internationally and has a strong reputation for musical excellence. Sykulski has  arranged everything from folk songs to pop tunes, and Chicago a cappella has done several of his works over the past 15 years or so. He has a strong and eclectic stamp to his music, and once he gets onto a musical idea, he pursues it with drive and intensity; one might think of Finland’s Jaakko Mäntyjärvi for a contemporary composer of similar individuality.  The combination of Sykulski’s intensity and the lyrical folk tune give a somewhat dark cast to the experience of the song. The tune migrates among various voice parts; the key changes from time to time; and the frenzied buildup at the end makes one feel that one is whirling in an intense kujawiak rhythm.

2. "Ach, Śpij Kochanie," by Henryk Wars and Ludwik Starski, arranged by Włodzimierz Sołtysik

This popular Polish lullaby was written in 1938 and first performed in the 1938 movie Paweł i Gaweł.  It served as the encore in our February 2019 concert Polish Splendor.

Raffle rules

Apr 9, 2020

Official Raffle Rules

Winners need not be present. For each raffle donation of $10 you receive one entry. For a $25 donation, you receive three entries. To enter by mail, send check payable to "Chicago a cappella" to Chicago a cappella. 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL 60657.  Your ticket will be entered into the drawing upon receipt of donation. 

Winners will be selected at a random drawing on Oct. 3, 2020, from all eligible entries received by the deadline of Oct. 2, 2020. Not responsible for lost, late, illegible, mis-delivered or misdirected raffle entries. Decisions of judges are final. Winners will be notified by telephone or email. Approximate odds of winning are dependent on the number of entries received. No portion of the raffle ticket purchase is tax-deductible. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. No substitution or transfer of prize permitted. All federal, state and local taxes are the sole responsibility of the winner. All federal, state and local laws apply.  Chicago a cappella is not responsible for airline or hotel cancellations or travel restrictions that may prevent the usage of this prize. 

No purchase/donation necessary. To enter without making a donation, on a plain piece of 3" x 5" paper, print your name, address, telephone number, and the words, "Chicago a cappella Cabaret 2020 raffle." Mail your entry to the address listed below.  Donation to Chicago a cappella does not improve chances of winning.

Raffle sponsored by Chicago a cappella, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago, IL, 60657, (773) 281-7820.

Options for ticketholders to “Swing, Swing, Swing’ [CANCELLED]

Mar 18, 2020

  1. We hope you will consider donating the cost of your tickets towards the support of our singers and our entire organization during this unprecedented shutdown. Your support at this difficult time will help ensure we can continue bringing you music in the future and will mitigate the economic impact for those most affected by the cancellation. To receive an acknowledgment of your tax-deductible donation, please contact us via email at or call (773) 281-7820 x1.
  2. You may instead request a credit to use toward a 2020-21 subscription or ticket purchase for a regular subscription series concert. To request a credit, contact us via email at or call (773) 281-7820 x1.  We request that you notify us of this request no later than April 30, 2020.
  3. Finally, refund requests will be honored through April 30, 2020. To request a refund, contact us via email at or call (773) 281-7820 x1.  Your request should include your name (the name used for the original order), mailing address, and your “Swing” concert date/location.  Refunds will be made according to your original payment method (credit card or check). For credit card refunds, please allow up to a week for your order to be processed.  For check refunds, please allow three weeks to receive a check by mail. Please note that our phone line will be monitored remotely, so while you may not be able to speak to someone right away, we will acknowledge your message and be in touch if further information is needed.

We are also deeply grateful for your financial support through a tax-deductible donation.  Although we have cancelled all events through the end of our season, we are committed to providing compensation to our singers and directors, and the loss of ticket income means your donations are more important than ever.  Thank you for your support.

Fiesta Coral Mexicana Playlist

Jul 30, 2019

Xtoles (L'ay yum K'in)   arr. Jorge Cózatl
Exsultate Justi in Domino audio sample Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla
Jucheti Consuelito    arr. Jóse Galván
Dic nobis, Maria   Francisco López Capillas
Mi ciudad   Guadalupe Trigo, arr. Jorge Córdoba
Éste ques ves, engaño colorido audio sample Rodgrido Cadet
La Llorona   arr. Ramon Noble
De Sur A Norte audio sample Julio Morales
Dios nunca muere   arr. Francisco Zúñiga Olmos
Tleycantimo choquiliya audio sample Gaspar Fernandes
Y es que no sabes audio sample Novelli Jurado
La Bikina   Ruben Fuentes, arr. Edgardo Romero Hernández
Besame Mucho audio sample Consuelo Velázquez, arr. Jose Galvan
A la orilla de palmar   Manuel Maria Ponce, arr. Jorge Córdoba
Pasar la vida   Jorge Cózatl
Te extraño   arr. José Galván 

Holidays a cappella 2019

Jul 30, 2019

Dominus dixit ad me   Chant
Noe, Noe!   Jean Mouton
Three Pieces for Chanukah   Robert Applebaum
Y'mei Hachanukah audio clip  
Maoz Tzur    
Funky Dreidl audio clip  
Noel Canon   Steven Sametz
Quelle est cette odeur agréable   Traditional, arr. David Willcocks
Nigh Bethlehem   Alfred Burt, arr. Gene Puerling
Al Hanisim   Joshua Fishbein
Ikh bin a kleyner dreidl   Mikhl Gelbart, arr. Mark Zuckerman
Silent Night   Franz Gruber, arr. Malcolm Sargeant
Winter Welcome   Patrick Sinozich
Carol of the Bells   Mykola Leontovych,
arr. Paul Langford
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas audio clip Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane,
arr. Robert Convery
Jingle a cappella audio clip James Pierpont, arr. James Clemens
Miracle   Matisyahu, arr. Sinozich
That's Christmas to Me   Scott Hoying and Kevin Oluwole Olusola
encore:  Deck the Hall   arr. Gene Puerling
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