Tag Archives: Texas Choral Consort

Musical Symposium


Texas Choral Consort has an August concert in Austin after a short but intense six-week rehearsal schedule. This year we’re singing opera choruses—a rather daunting summer symposium. These are some of the more famous and popular choruses from 18th century Handel to 20th century Bernstein). It has been educational as well as challenging. Instead of one entire opera, a narrative arc has been added to introduce these works and link them together.

Artistic Director Brent Baldwin will conduct four wonderful soloists, an orchestra (including an anvil for the percussionist!) and a chorus of 80+ voices on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 7:30; and Sunday, Aug. 19, at 3; both at Northwest Hills United Methodist Church, 7050 Village Center Dr (off Far West).

Come see what we can do in thirteen 3-hour rehearsals! (I’ll add a shout out to Old Koenig Lane Christian Church for providing rehearsal space.)

More info and tickets here

Here are the titles for you opera buffs!

Viva L’Opera! Famous Opera Choruses


Chorus of Enchanted Islanders (Alcina, by G.F. Handel)

Voyager’s Chorus (Idomeneo, by Mozart)


Villagers’ Chorus (Guillame Tell, by Rossini)


Mira, O Norma (Norma, by Bellini)


Habanera (Carmen, by Bizet)

Te Deum (Tosca, by Puccini)


Waltz Scene (Eugene Onegin, by Tchaikovsky)

Wedding Guests’ Chorus (Lucia di Lammermoor, by Donizetti)

Bridal Chorus (Lohengrin, by Wagner)


Polovtsian Dances (Prince Igor, by Borodin)

Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves (Nabucco, by Verdi)


Rataplan (La Forza del Destino, by Verdi)


Matadors’ Chorus (La Traviata, by Verdi)

Brindisi (La Traviata, by Verdi)

Anvil Chorus (Il Trovatore, by Verdi)


Make Our Garden Grow (Candide, by Leonard Berstein)

Music performance at its best


On the musical theme, here are some good reasons to hire an experienced professional accompanist for auditions, etc. My friend Sheryl is such a professional and I have seen her help students do their very best performances.


I’ve had wonderful opportunities this summer to indulge in music and other artistic endeavors:

First, a SHAMELESS PLUG: Tomorrow July 28! a fundraising pancake breakfast for Tapestry Singers. All you can eat for $6 at Applebee’s, I-35 @ St. John’s, from 8-10am. Eggs, eggs benedict, sausage, hash browns, fruit, juice, coffee, tea, and pancakes galore. We’ll probably sing something for you around 9 or so.

Conspirare Symphonic Choir with the Austin Symphony, Peter Bay, conductor, and Craig Hella Johnson, guest conductor

Hilde Girls & Drumsistas, with Susan Lincoln, director and founder

Journey: Tradition to Innovation — a performance by Bharata Natyam of classical and contemporary Indian dance, with live music and poetry by Chandra Washington

“House” at the Museum of Ephemerata. Homeowners Scott & Jen Webel inherited a museum housed in the front of their east Austin home; the “House” exhibit was mostly in the back yard. Open on Saturday afternoons, though maybe not every Saturday!

“Sisters Under the Skin,” a Civil War spy drama by Paullette MacDougal. Three women–a slave-holding abolitionist, her slave (who became a spy in the home of the Confederate president), and the First Lady–truly had a profound impact on U.S. history. The brand new Madeline McCauley Heritage Chorale of 14 singers, debuted during this production.

Balcones Community Orchestra, Dr. Robert Radmer, musical director.

The Studebakers, who sing mostly 30s and 40s songs. Jill, my sister-in-law, is one of the Studebakers.

Coming soon: Texas Choral Consort will sing about 15 opera choruses by a variety of composers from Bernstein and Bizet to Verdi and Wagner. Soloists and orchestra will make this a treat on Sat. evening Aug. 18 and Sunday afternoon Aug. 19. Info at http://www.txchoralconsort.org

Contemporary music, blues, country, classical; music, dance, theater . . . love that variety!



I am getting excited about singing two Requiems on Saturday the 20th! Mozart’s Requiem is a delightful challenge–lots of 16th notes and dynamics from very soft to full voice.

Mozart actually did not finish his Requiem. We were even told the last note he wrote before his died, a high A for the sopranos! His colleague Franz Xaver Süssmayr completed the score, which had been commissioned by Count Franz von Walsegg to commemorate the anniversary of his wife’s death. It premiered on Feb. 14, 1792.

A project is under way to take the portions of the Requiem that Mozart completed and to have contemporary composers write their own orchestration for each movement. So we will also perform the world premiere of “Lacrymosa” as arranged by Austin composer Peter Stopschinski. The words will be in English, but the choral notes will be as Mozart wrote them.

Gabriel Fauré wrote his Requiem between 1887 and 1890 in memory of his own parents. It is also a favorite of mine: I would like to have the famous soprano solo “Pie Jesu” sung at my memorial service.

The occasion for all this is the 2011 Summer Symposium of the Texas Choral Consort, plus orchestra, directed by Brent Baldwin. He is also Music Director for First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin. For the Symposium, the chorus of 104 voices (SATB) has met for three rehearsals per week since July 23. It’s a month-long intensive with a glorious concert at the end!

It has been very helpful to me that many of the singers were already familiar with the work–made it much easier to learn. So, with one week to go, rehearsals will begin to add portions of the orchestra, starting with strings. This has been a great and challenging experience.

Bonus treat: “Out of the Silence” for orchestra and piano by William Grant Still.

As indicated in the flyer below, the concert will be Saturday, August 20, at 8PM, at Northwest Hills United Methodist Church, 7050 Village Center Drive, 78731 (just south of Far West Blvd). Tickets are $20, $15 for Seniors and Students, and free for the under-10 crowd. Or if you ask nicely, I’ll give you one!