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Stacy P. Sherman
Marketing Specialist
Ph: (262) 472-5705
Email: [email protected]
Date: April 7, 2015
Wisconsin Chamber Choir Concert Set to Be a Tour de Force of Sound
WHITEWATER – The Wisconsin Chamber Choir (WCC), UW-Whitewater Chamber Singers and
Sinfonia Sacra (professional orchestra) are uniting for a “tour de force” of sound, bringing a new
moving and uplifting concert to Young Auditorium in Whitewater on Sunday, April 19th at 3:00 p.m.
The musicians will perform three works: Brahms Requiem, Giles Swayne’s Our Orphan Souls, and
Christian Ellenwood’s Prairie Spring. Tickets for this concert are as low as $15.50.
The WCC is based in Madison, Wis. It has established a reputation for excellence in the performance
of oratorios, a cappella masterworks, and world premieres. The WCC has performed at Wisconsin
Choral Directors Association conventions and on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Sunday Afternoon: Live at
the Elvehjem radio broadcasts.
Active in commissioning and performing new works by living composers, the WCC has presented
world-premieres by Stephen Chatman, Daron Hagen, Howard Helvey, Judith Shatin, Giles Swayne,
and Ethan Amir Zaheri. The choir was founded in 1998 by Gary McKercher.
The WCC has maintained a biennial tradition of presenting cantatas and oratorios with full orchestra.
The players assembled for these performances, known collectively as Sinfonia Sacra, are members
of the best regional orchestras, including the Madison Symphony Orchestra, the Wisconsin Chamber
Orchestra, the Madison Bach Musicians, and the Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble. These established
professional musicians, many with extensive training in historical performance practice, provide
sensitive and powerful readings of choral masterworks, whether on modern instruments or sometimes
period instruments. Visit to learn more.
Dr. Robert Gehrenbeck is Director of Choral Activities at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater,
where he conducts the UW-Whitewater Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, and opera and musical
theatre productions. Since 2008, he has served as Artistic Director of the WCC, leading that
ensemble in critically-acclaimed performances of choral-orchestral masterworks as well as innovative
programs featuring familiar and rarely heard a cappella works. As a singer, Gehrenbeck has
appeared with the Robert Shaw Festival Singers, Boston’s Cantata Singers, New York State
Baroque, and the Bloomington Early Music Festival.
The UW–Whitewater Chamber Singers have performed at state and regional conventions of the
American Choral Directors Association and on regional and international tours. The singers tour
annually in the upper Midwest and beyond, including a tour of Germany and the Czech Republic in
About the program
Requiem - Johannes Brahms began Ein Deutsches Requiem in 1857, after the death of his close
friend, Robert Schumann. In this major work for chorus, orchestra, and soloists, Brahms provides
consolation for those who grieve for their loved ones. Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (“Blessed are they
that mourn”) opens the seven movement work, comforting those left behind to grieve their loss. The
final movement, Selig sind die Toten (“Blessed are the dead”) presents the final resolution of finding
rest from life's labors in death. Flavored with lilting Brahms melodies, sweet harmonies, and splendid
orchestration, this is music at its very best, and is sure to touch music lovers on all levels.
Our Orphan Souls - English composer, Giles Swayne (b. 1946), began composing at age 10. He won
a scholarship in composition at the Royal Academy of Music and continued studies with Olivier
Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire. He now lives in London and teaches composition at Cambridge
University, and is Composer-in-residence at Clare College, Cambridge. Dr. Gehrenbeck broached the
topic of a commissioned work and Mr. Swayne selected the text of Hermann Melville from Moby Dick
and has set it for choir, baritone soloist, harp, alto sax, double bass and percussion. The baritone solo
will be sung by Gregory Berg, Carthage College. Mr. Swayne will attend the concert.
Prairie Spring - Composed by Dr. Christian Ellenwood of the UW-Whitewater faculty, Ellenwood
describes his work: "My composition, Prairie Spring, is a setting for choir and string orchestra of a
poem by the celebrated American author Willa Cather. Cather’s poem is also entitled Prairie Spring; it
was inspired by the prairie landscape of Nebraska, where Cather spent her formative years. The
poem serves as the prelude to her beautiful novel O Pioneers!...Cather’s poem describes eternal
cycles of growth, toil, yearning, and regeneration—cycles and stories as infinite and eternal as the
landscape, and perfectly joined with it.”
The Young Auditorium serves as a presenting organization for the performing arts and as an
educational and cultural center enriching the lives of regional communities, offering a full season of
world-class performing arts presentations. Tickets are available to reserve online and print at home (a
small fee is applied for this service), or by contacting the Greenhill Center of the Arts Box Office on
the UW-Whitewater campus (930 West Main Street in Whitewater) at (262) 472-2222. The Young
Auditorium is adjacent to this building, and parking is always free at the venue. To learn more, visit or follow at