New a capella group debuts at Rockefeller

By Jeffrey Bishku-Aykul

Choir group Chicago a capella will gives the debut performance for its new program, “Spirit/Breath/Voice,” Saturday, Feb. 9 at Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., at 8 p.m.

The concert, a combination of religious and secular music performed by the choir of 10, will include works by renaissance Italian composer Tomas Luis de Victoria, the late New Oreans-born composer Moses Hogan and Chicago a capella artistic director Jonathan Miller.

“Spirit/Breath/Voice” highlights “the treasure of kindness,” according to a statement by Miller in the program’s playbill.

Noting the focus of news coverage on violence and misunderstanding at home and abroad, Miller added, “It seemed like it was time for us to put together a concert that would shine a light on a different side of human experience: simply being good to one another.”

The program represents Guest director William Chin’s first direction of a Chicago a capella production. Chin is an assistant conductor for the Chicago Symphony Chorus and the founder and director of Oriana Singers, a Chicago a capella group founded in 1979 that has performed at venues including the Joffrey Ballet.

According to Chin, Chicago a capella has been rehearsing for the program since January at the Merit School of Music and Symphony Center.

Gwyneth Walker — whose three-part composition “Songs of Ecstasy will make its Midwest premiere at this weekend’s concert — is “very good at crafting music that expresses the words,” Chin said.

Chin also called Rockefeller Chapel, where says he has both performed and watched others perform, an “amazing space to be in, both visually and aurally,” adding that in “a space like Rockefeller, there’s room for the sound to bloom.”

For more information, call Chicago a capella at 773-281-7820. Tickets range from $12 for students to $35 for preferred seating and cost $2 extra at the door. To buy advance tickets, call Chicago a capella visit