Local brings Chicago Chamber Choir here

Local brings Chicago Chamber Choir here

By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer

Choir music has long endured the reputation of being exclusive to church groups and classical areas of music. The Chicago Chamber Choir (CCC), however, has made drastic movements in choral music by introducing new concepts in arrangements, song choice and contemporary sound.

Timm Adams is a Rockford resident, assistant professor of music at Rockford College and the artistic director of the CCC. Because of these connections, the choir will be performing at Rockford College’s Maddox Theater June 1, the last in a series of performances titled “Fresh Ayre: Songs of Earth and Sky.”

Featuring an array of songs chosen for their settings and ambiance, the CCC will introduce Rockford residents to a new concept in choir music.

The voices of 34 singers in the age range of early 20s to late 60s make up the CCC, which was founded in 1996 to promote choral music in the community by presenting seasonal concerts and charitable performances. By creating new elements for choral concerts through modern themes, the CCC is able to reach an audience that normally wouldn’t attend a choir performance.

There is a wide spectrum of diversity among the members; some are lawyers, truckers, teachers, and all are from different areas of Chicago. Under the direction of Adams, the choir has performed in Chicago’s inner-city schools, retirement homes, homeless shelters and rehabilitation clinics. Its album, At the River: Songs of the American Spirit, is a great introduction to what these dedicated vocalists have been working on for the past seven years. The CD includes samplings of American music such as spirituals, folk music and bluegrass.

“Fresh Ayre: Songs of Earth and Sky” includes songs arranged to the nature of poetry by Emily Dickinson, William Blake, Robert Frost and more. Composer-in-residence, Toria Burrell will premiere her arrangement of Blake’s “Tyger, Tyger,” while other poetic settings are featured by Jean Berger, John Tavener, Randall Thompson and others.

It’s an extremely contemporary and relevant movement for choral music that maintains classic structure; it certainly isn’t your church youth group choir. Adams stresses the CCC is extremely down to earth and very different from other choral groups in that they present a varied program using different styles in performance. Some Chicago-area jazz vocalists will present three pieces, which emphasize the modernity of the CCC.

Adams explained his mission statement for the CCC as one for entertainment, education and enlightenment. “CCC is a down to earth group that provides a varied program appealing to all Americans…not just for the music lover. We’re fun to watch. I would say we present a fairly different performance for choral music.” He also added, “If they’re expecting a regular choral concert, they’re not going to get it!”

The Chicago Chamber Choir will perform at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 1, at Rockford College’s Maddox Theater. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $16 at the door, and $10 for students. For information or ticket reservations, call 312/409-6890.

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