Mendelssohn Club Returns to St. Paul’s in Chestnut Hill and Verizon Hall for the Holidays

RELEASE November 13, 2013
CONTACTS:
Janelle McCoy, Executive Director
Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia
215.735.9922

Edward McNally, Above The Fold
404.281.6419

 

Metropolitan Opera Soprano Karen Slack Joins Philadelphia’s Beloved Symphonic Chorus for “Feast of Carols,”
A Concert of Holiday Favorites, Sacred Music and New Works by Composer Donald St. Pierre

Later in December, Mendelssohn Club Chorus Joins the Philadelphia Orchestra in Verizon Hall
for Three “Glorious Sounds of Christmas” Concerts

 

As it has for over eighty years, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia will celebrate the holiday season with a series of performances in December. On Saturday December 14, Metropolitan Opera soprano Karen Slack, organist Michael Stairs, and the Mendelssohn Brass will join the city’s most historic chorus for “A Feast of Carols,” a concert of classic carols, lesser known Christmas songs and special compositions by Philadelphia-based composer Donald St. Pierre. Several pieces on the program are either composed or arranged by St. Pierre, the composer-in-residence for Mendelssohn Club and a member of the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music.

Several hundred music lovers from all over Philadelphia will gather in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Chestnut Hill to share the experience of Mendelssohn Club’s annual holiday concert. The audience for A Feast of Carols looks forward to singing several of the more popular carols along with the more than 140 members of the Mendelssohn Club Chorus who will be performing at St. Paul’s this year. This annual musical event is generally considered to be Philadelphia’s longest-running holiday concert series.

Several Chestnut Hill restaurants and retailers, including Tavern on the Hill, and Brendenbeck’s Bakery & Ice Cream Parlor are offering special discounts to patrons holding tickets to A Feast of Carols, on various dates between December 10 and 16. See discount details below.

Tickets are available online at www.mcchorus.org.

 

Ask Alan Harler, Mendelssohn Club’s Artistic Director since 1988, and he’ll tell you “the holiday concerts are some of the most beautiful and moving experiences for our chorus. This year, we are extremely pleased to feature some beautiful music composed or arranged by our good friend, composer Donald St. Pierre. And having a Metropolitan Opera soprano of the caliber of Karen Slack singing with us is a very special treat, to be sure!”

Harler believes deeply that “music and the human voice have unique powers to bring together people of different backgrounds and traditions. This is a big part of what motivates all of us to share our love of music with so many other artists and audiences at the holiday season and throughout the year. ”

Later this holiday season, on December 19, 20 and 21, Mendelssohn Club will perform as part of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s annual holiday concert, known across Philadelphia as Glorious Sounds of Christmas.Named for the Orchestra’s best-selling Christmas album, these concerts are ideal for listeners of all ages. No music lover should miss this opportunity to experience the sound of all 140 voices of the chorus filling Verizon Hall with cherished holiday carols.

Tickets for the Glorious Sounds of Christmas concert are available exclusively through the Kimmel Center. http://www.kimmelcenter.org/

 

 

Mendelssohn Club Holiday Concert Series Details:

A Feast of Carols
f
eaturing Metropolitan Opera Soprano Karen Slack
with the Mendelssohn Brass
Michael Stairs, organ

5 pm, Saturday, December 14, 2012
St. Paul’s Church of Chestnut Hill
22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave. (Chestnut Hill)
Philadelphia, PA
19119

Mendelssohn Club’s composer-in-residence Donald St. Pierre has been on the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music since 1990. He has served as principal keyboard player for the Milwaukee Symphony and was music director of the Skylight Music Theater in Milwaukee from 1978-1990, where he directed more than 50 productions and composed three chamber operas. He is one of the contributing composers to the AIDS Quilt Songbook. He has been head coach of the voice department at the Chautauqua Institution and has held the same post at the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival since 1995. As a recital accompanist, he has appeared at such venues as New York’s Lincoln Center, London’s Wigmore Hall and the Alameida Theatre, Paris’s Théatre du Chalet, as well as at the Tanglewood, Santa Fe Chamber Music, Bowdoin, Bard, and Grand Teton Music Festivals.

Karen Slack – soprano
American soprano Karen Slack, hailed by critics for possessing a lustrous voice of extraordinary beauty and dramatic depth, has sung with noted conductors, leading opera companies and symphony orchestras around the world.

Ms. Slack is the featured opera soloist in Lionsgate and Tyler Perry Studios’ major motion picture and soundtrack “For Colored Girls” released in November 2010. Upcoming engagements include Messiah Festival of the Arts in 2013 and Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2014. She sang Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra in 2010 and Verdi Requiem with the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra at the Mondavi Center (Davis, California) in 2011. Her recent Aida with West Bay Opera in Spring 2012 garnered this praise from Opera News: “Karen Slack’s deeply felt Aida seemed modeled on Leontyne Price’s glorious assumption — dramatic in tone, generous in volume, flexible in tempo and luminous on top.”

Ms. Slack made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 in the title role of Luisa Miller and quickly followed that with performances at San Francisco Opera, Carnegie Hall, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and Melbourne Symphony (Australia). The New York Times described her singing as “warmly expressive, especially in her brilliant top.” The Financial Times labeled her “a radiant spinto soprano.”

Ms. Slack has carefully laid a foundation to serve her well for a long career. While a student at Curtis Institute, she was noticed by the Santa Fe Opera and given a coveted place in their apprentice program. San Francisco Opera rewarded her with an invitation to participate in the Merola Opera Program and followed that with an Adler Fellowship.

Ms. Slack gained international attention as winner of several high-profile competitions: 2007 Jose Iturbi Competition, 2006 Portland Opera Lieber Award, 2005 Florida Grand Opera Competition, 2004 Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, 2000 George London Award, and second prize in the 2008 Montserrat Caballé International Singing Competition.

Other engagements include the role of Cilla in the American opera Margaret Garner for Michigan Opera Theater, soprano soloist for Verdi Requiem with Madison Symphony Orchestra, Serena in Porgy and Bess for San Francisco Opera and Washington National Opera, Violetta in La Traviata for Sacramento Opera and West Bay Opera, soloist with the Cincinnati Pops and May Festival Chorus. A devotee of the American spiritual, Karen frequently joins the acclaimed American Spiritual Ensemble for special tours and concerts.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT OFFER:

On Saturday, December 14, concertgoers are encouraged to show their pre-printed ticket, program book, or ticket stub from A Feast of Carols to receive discounts on Saturday, December 14 at these locations:

Bredenbeck’s Bakery and Ice Cream Parlor
8126 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118
215-247-7374
www.bredenbecks.com
20% discount on 12/14.

Roller’s Restaurant at Flying Fish
8142 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118
215-247-0707
www.rollersrestaurants.com/rollers/
10% discount off of entree the weekend of 12/14.

Tavern on the Hill
8636 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118
215-298-3707
tavernonthehill.biz
tavernonthehill@gmail.com
10% off food and beverage on 12/14.

Valley Green Inn
Valley Green Rd @ Wissahickon Creek, Philadelphia, PA 19128
215-247-1730
tegan@valleygreeninn.com
15% off food on 12/14.

B&B Cigars International
7920 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118
215-242-6776
bnbcigars@msn.com
Ticket holders receive 15% off cigars and accessories. In addition, any group of four will receive a discount off of wine tastings.

 

 

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

For the past 140 years, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities. Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing or reaching out to new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

Earlier this year, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia received the prestigious Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, which recognizes choruses that demonstrate a commitment to fostering and promoting new music. “Few organizations have so strategically embraced innovation and collaboration,” according to Tom Kaiden, former Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “Mendelssohn Club constantly finds new ways to bring the audience into the experience. It’s why they are one of the most exciting choruses in America today.”

For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-2014 season, visit www.mcchorus.org You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus.

Alan Harler, Artistic Director
Artistic Director Alan Harler, who received the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art, is known for pairing new works and the masterworks. During his twenty-five year tenure with Mendelssohn Club, he has commissioned over 55 new compositions, including David Lang’s battle hymns (2009), Jennifer Higdon’s On the Death of the Righteous, and Pauline Oliveros’s Urban Echo: Circle Told (2008). Maestro Harler conducted Mendelssohn Club in a critically acclaimed recording of the Moran Requiem for Argo/London Records in 1994.

####

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia 2013-14 Season

Kimmel Center Organ Concert
featuring organist Michael Stairs
and commentary by Michael Barone, host of Pipedreams

October 25, 2013 | 7:30 pm
Verizon Hall
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Tickets available through Ticket Philadelphia (215) 893-1999

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia opens its 140 organ. Highlights from the early and mid-twentieth century include Benjamin Britten’s Festival Te Deum and Jubilate Deo presented in honor of Britten’s birth centenary. Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle and Marcel Dupré’s Four Motets will represent the great French organ tradition. The program will conclude with two works with American connections:

Charles Ives’ setting of Psalm 90 and Zóltan Kodály’s Laudes Organi, which was commissioned by the American Guild of Organists.

The concert features organist Michael Stairs on the Fred J. Cooper Memorial Organ, the largest mechanical-action concert organ in the United States. Michael Barone, host of American Public Media’s Pipedreams, will provide special comments.

A Feast of Carols
with The Mendelssohn Brass and organist Michael Stairs
December 14, 2013 | 5 pm
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Chestnut Hill
22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19118

Tickets: $28, $38 online | $30, $40 at the door

Celebrate the holidays with the 140 voices of Mendelssohn Club! Experience the beauty of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, listen and sing along to carols old and new, and enjoy the quaint charm of the shops and restaurants of Chestnut Hill. Featuring organist Michael Stairs, the Mendelssohn Brass and including works in honor of Donald St. Pierre, Mendelssohn Club’s Composer-in-Residence.

The Sound of Spirit: Pärt/Haydn
with The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
February 23, 2014 | 4 pm
Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

$28 & $38 online | $30 & $40 at the door

Despite being separated by over two centuries of music, Arvo Pärt and Joseph Haydn both sought to make sense of the lengthy wars of their times, each touched in some way by the grim realities of war and each providing his own individual response through composition.

Written during the incessant French aggression against the Austrians, Haydn’s Mass in Time of War embodies the sounds of battle juxtaposed to prayers for peace. Similarly, Pärt sought to find common ground as a way to bridge warring factions through his music. Performed on this program is an encore performance of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament, praised by critic David Patrick Stearns as “seethingly passionate” and “harmonically explosive.” Two shorter works by Pärt, including the North American premiere of his Estonian Lullaby and Salve Regina, complete the program.

Anthracite Fields by Julia Wolfe
with Bang On a Can All-Stars
April 26, 2014 | 4 pm & 7:30 pm
April 27, 2014 | 4 pm & 7:30 pm

The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral
13 South 38th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tickets $28 online | $30 at the door
Experience the mining lore of the anthracite coal fields of central Pennsylvania through this new, folk-classical hybrid by composer Julia Wolfe, runner-up for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in music. The sound and lyrics of Anthracite Fields is inspired by Wolfe’s personal research and miner family interviews. The premiere performances will incorporate the architecture of The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral’s sanctuary space as a dramatic backdrop. Mendelssohn Club joins forces with the internationally renowned Bang on a Can All-Stars for this very special series of four concerts over two days.

Anthracite Fields was commissioned through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. Additional support was made possible through the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Alan Harler New Ventures Fund; The Presser Foundation; The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; the National Endowment for the Arts; and The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia. Visit www.anthracitefields.com to follow the development of this new Julia Wolfe work in the months leading up to it’s world premiere in April 2014.

 

Beethoven Symphony No. 9
with the Philadelphia Sinfonia
June 8, 2014 | 4 pm
Verizon Hall
Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
300 S. Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Tickets available through Philadelphia Sinfonia at www.philadelphiasinfonia.com

Don’t miss a wonderful opportunity to hear all 140 voices of the magnificent Mendelssohn Club Chorus along with
some of Philadelphia’s most talented young musicians. Mendelssohn Club joins the Philadelphia Sinfonia in Beethoven’s
monumental Ninth Symphony with Maestro Gary White conducting.

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia

For the past 140 years, Mendelssohn Club Chorus has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities. Mendelssohn Club, one of America’s oldest choruses, continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of musical organizations, each of which is devoted to representing or reaching out to new audiences in innovative ways. Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performs choral music to create a shared transcendent experience among its singers and audiences. Through the excellence of its adventurous performances, Mendelssohn Club advances the development of choral music as an art form.

Earlier this year, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia received the prestigious Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, which recognizes choruses that demonstrate a commitment to fostering and promoting new music. “Few organizations have so strategically embraced innovation and collaboration,” says Tom Kaiden, former Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. “Mendelssohn Club constantly finds new ways to bring the audience into the experience. It’s why they are one of the most exciting choruses in America today.”

For information about Mendelssohn Club’s concerts and programs, or to order tickets for the 2013-2014 season, visit
www.mcchorus.org

You can also find Mendelssohn Club on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mcchorus