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Deck your halls and support newVoices

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You could take this stunning tree home: the tree, the ornaments, even four tickets to “Christmas at the Chapel.” All you need to do is visit the Trout Museum of Art  for the Festival of Trees and make a bid! The theme is “black tie optional” and the decorations are black, white, silver, glitter, tulle and dozens of ornaments. There are more than $400 dollars worth of ornaments and customized decorations from our volunteer interior designers!

Hidden extras: The tree comes with 4 tickets to our 12/20 Christmas concert, Christmas at the Chapel—one of the best celebrations of this special season.

To see our tree and put in a bid, please visit the Trout Museum of Art at 111 W. College Avenue in the heart of downtown Appleton. All final bids will be placed on the beautiful trees and wreaths at the auction reception December 4th. To save your spot, please call the Trout Museum of Art at 920-733-4089 or e-mail us at info@troutmusuem.org.

Christmas decorations support newVoices

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Our singer/decorators Beth Johnson and Traci Diehl present our "Black Tie Optional" tree available for purchase at the Festival of Trees.

Our singer/decorators Beth Johnson and Traci Diehl present our “Black Tie Optional” tree available for purchase at the Festival of Trees.

This beautiful tree topper was designed by singer (and artist) Ann Ritzman.

This beautiful tree topper was designed by singer (and artist) Ann Ritzman.

You could get this BEAUTIFUL Christmas tree for your home AND help newVoices at the same time! We are part of the Trout Museum of Art’s Festival of Trees held Nov. 14-Dec 7 in the main gallery of the museum. The gallery will be converted to a wonderland of beautifully decorated trees and wreathes you can purchase via silent bidding. It’s the ultimate Christmas decoration–you get the tree, the decorations and all the work is already done!

Here’s the cool part: if you purchase the newVoices tree, we get to keep that donation! Because we are a partner in the Building For The Arts, we will be allowed to keep the proceeds from our tree. All other proceeds from the trees and wreaths will be donated to the Trout Museum of Art.

About our tree: It is a 7.5’ pre-lit tree which is a limited edition designer tree purchased from Santa’s Best Christmas store. The tree is worth about $600 retail and happily it was donated by one of our board members!

About the theme: The theme is “black tie optional” and the decorations are black, white, silver, glitter, tulle and dozens of ornaments. There are more than $400 dollars worth of ornaments and customized decorations from our volunteer interior designers!

Hidden extras: The tree comes with 4 tickets to our 12/20 Christmas concert, Christmas at the Chapel—one of the best celebrations of this special season.

To see our tree and put in a bid, please visit the Trout Museum of Art at 111 W. College Avenue in the heart of downtown Appleton. All final bids will be placed on the beautiful trees and wreaths at the auction reception December 4th. An R.S.V.P. is required to help the Trout better plan for your arrival. To save your spot, please call the Trout Museum of Art at 920-733-4089 or e-mail us at info@troutmusuem.org.

High School Singers join newVoices

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Our largest class of High School Master Singers (30

High School singers join newVoices in the October, 2013 concert.

young people!) will join us for the fall concert “Where in the World is newVoices?” The students are top choral singers from area high schools who are recommended by their choir teachers. As young singers, they have an opportunity to sing with a collegiate choral conductor in an ensemble of adult voices. They will ramp up their musical skills and learn that choral singing is something they can experience for a lifetime.

This fall, we welcome students from the following high schools to our stage:
Appleton West High School
Appleton East High School
Appleton Xavier High School
Oshkosh North High School
Weyauwega-Fremont High School
Omro High School
Freedom High School
Hortonville High School
Kaukauna High School
Kimberly High School
Green Bay Southwest High School
Green Bay East High School
De Pere High School
West De Pere High School
Ashwaubenon High School

Several of these students’ teachers sing in newVoices, and assistant conductor Dan Van Sickle oversees the program. Dan is the choir director at Appleton East High School and says that young people learn being part of a choir doesn’t end with high school and even that their teachers are “real people.” “It helps for the students to see teachers outside the classroom,” Dan said. “Students can see that, as music teachers, we are far from perfect – we have to practice, we make mistakes, and we learn just like everyone else does!”

Students learn more challenging repertoire and rehearsal skills that will help them be better leaders in their choir classrooms. Teachers whose students participate in the program have seen first hand how it has been life changing and inspired some to pursue music education or music related careers.

The higher level musical and rehearsal skills these students develop during this program make them better leaders in their own classrooms, so the effects are multiplied as the students share their experiences with their peers in their own school choirs. “And, of course,” Dan says, “singing harmony with your own students is just really cool!”

Announcing 2014-15 season!

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nv cabaret hi resby Justin Gingrich, Lawrence University ’15, newVoices intern

We are excited to welcome you all to the second year in our life as newVoices, and invite you to continue to be a part of our family as we prepare for our 2014–15 season.

NewVoices has begun work on a fascinating season ahead, starting with Where in the World is newVoices on Saturday, October 25, 2014 – 7:30 p.m. at the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel. We know you have all seen the show from the ‘90s with a similar name and a theme song by Rockapella (which you may or may not hear in the concert – you will have to come to find out!) Our concert will share a similar format by holding the concert in Appleton, but performing musical selections that will take your minds and spirits on a journey across the globe in search of the origins of each piece. The pieces performed will partially foreshadow the program newVoices will take on its Italy tour, and because you are our most beloved audience, we want you to hear it before we leave.

This opening concert is especially exciting for newVoices because we will be performing alongside a group of extremely gifted singers from area high schools who were invited to participate in our High School Master Singers program.

Winter is just around the corner and with it all kinds of wonderful Christmas traditions! Whether you are setting up the tree with your family, making an Advent calendar, or singing Christmas carols around the family piano, all of our traditions are very dear to our hearts. We want to invite you and your loved ones to be a part of newVoices’ most treasured tradition, our Christmas at the Chapel performances on Saturday, December 20, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel.

When we say be a part, we mean it literally — we expect you to sing! We want your voice to join ours, and the massive Brombaugh Organ, in singing hymns and carols of praise celebrating the birth of our Savior. The Chapel is the perfect venue for this joyous occasion, with a soft glow reflecting off the snow through gorgeous stained-glass depictions of religious text as newVoices performs works of reflection and praise; it is hard to find a better way to celebrate this sacred day than through song with your friends and family.

Our final concert of the year is OneVoice – An Ecumenical Community Celebration in Song on Saturday, May 9, 2015 – 7:30 p.m. at Lawrence University Memorial Chapel. This concert in the first of its kind in newVoices’ history, as it will be a community church choir “hymn sing.” The morning will feature workshops with various professors and other teachers for participating church choir singers, and in the evening, those same church choir singers will join newVoices in a concert showcasing what was accomplished in the workshops. This partnership will create one of the most memorable concerts for our choir this season!

Tickets are on sale now, so please call our office at 920-823-9700 or visit our online ticketing!

Local arts groups collaborate to bring masterwork to the PAC

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Concert is a reunion for one area family

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana has become a classic for musicians and audiences because of its percussive music, hypnotic melodies, lilting passages and all-out, robust orchestration. On Saturday, May 3, more than 200 regional musicians will collaborate to present this classical masterwork in live performance at the Fox Cities PAC.

The rowdy subject matter is set to some of the most beautiful melodies in classical musical literature. The Carmina were songs of medieval traveling students and ex-monks who left universities and monasteries to pursue a roaring life of gambling, drinking and making love. The texts of the songs were discovered in a Bavarian monastery near Munich in the early 20th-century and are a mixture of 13th-century Latin and “low” German. The songs in the Carmina cover a range of topics, as familiar then as they are today: the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.

The performance culminates the Fox Valley Symphony’s season and is a favorite of Music Director Brian Groner. “There is something wonderfully primal about the text and the music of Carmina Burana,” Groner said. “When it speaks of power it is bold and over the top aggressive; when it talks of love it is either bawdy or exquisitely tender.”

According to newVoices Artistic Director, Phillip Swan, the masterwork is a welcome collaboration with the symphony. “Choral/orchestral collaborations provide a cross-pollination of musical interests,” Swan said. “Consequently, it’s good for the community to have arts organizations working together to put on quality productions.”

For singers & instrumentalists alike, Carmina Burana is a musical challenge because of the range of emotions needed to interpret the composer’s music. One movement requires repetitive, full-voiced singing and playing while the next movement requires a gentle, lyrical approach.

“It takes an unusual amount of concentration to maintain the rhythmic intensity Orff demands in the score, and because it is repetitive it can be physically challenging,” Groner said. “It’s a big sing,” Swan said. “The melodies are present an extreme of emotional singing requiring consistent vocal technique as well as artistic interpretation.”

Singers in the Lawrence Academy of Music Capriccio Girl Choir in grades 5-7 are excited for the opportunity to sing with a full orchestra, professional soloists (one of whom is a girl choir alumna), and an adult choir. “The girls are learning to listen to how their part fits into the other vocal and symphonic parts,” said Director of the Lawrence Academy of Music, Karen Bruno. “Singing with an orchestra allows them the opportunity to hear different timbres with their ‘accompaniment.’ The girls are used to hearing only the piano, with occasionally one other string or wind instrument, while they sing.”

A FAMILY AFFAIR

For the Hodges family, the performance will be a reunion. Father Mike Hodges is a founding member of newVoices where he sings with his son, Jeremy. Daughter Jennifer Hodges Bryan is an oboist with the symphony and brother Jonathan is a cellist. The family shares a long history of music and fostering musical development.

“We gave our kids outlets for enjoying music,” Mike Hodges said. “They all started in violin and in time gravitated toward their own choice of instrument,” he said. His wife, Donna, drove the kids to lessons at the Lawrence Academy of Music and checked their practice progress.

Jeremy Hodges says the opportunity to perform together is a normal part of a musical family. “But in the end it does have a special personal meaning: the people I care most about are with me and sharing the fun,” he said.

His father agrees. “I get such enjoyment from performing and to be able to have them on stage with me doubles the enjoyment. There is a sense of pride in watching their accomplishments,” Mike Hodges said.

Jonathan Hodges says the different roles family members play allows for unique perspectives. “I am more toward the front of the stage, Jennifer is in the middle, my father and Jeremy are toward the back and my mother is out in the audience. Every spot does sound quite different and can expose different aspects of the performance,” he said.

Family members are continuing the tradition as Jennifer Hodges Bryan has her three daughters enrolled in music lessons. “Having them learn an instrument and involved in music is something that I really wanted for them because I think there are several benefits to a child’s development when they are involved in music,” she said.

HEAR IT LIVE

Both conductors urge area residents to experience the work live, rather than listening to recordings.

“You can’t reproduce the sound of 200 musicians live by putting it in a little speaker and expect it to sound the same. Hearing this music live is worth unplugging,” Swan said.

“Some of the greatest pieces of western civilization’s art music combine the forces of chorus and orchestra,” Groner said. “There is a power in them that is greater than each standing alone.”

Concert information is:

CARMINA BURANA
MAY 3, 7:30 p.m., Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra
newVoices choir
Lawrence Academy of Music Capriccio Girl Choir
Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana is an enduring audience favorite, and one of the most recognizable pieces of music ever written for orchestra, chorus and soloists.

Soprano soloist Alisa Jordheim ; tenor soloist Steven Paul Spears ; baritone soloist Chad Sloan

For ticket information, please visit www.foxvalleysymphony.com or phone 920-730-3769

Carmina Burana: the translation

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NEW-4-a2z-WHC_2012-Mar_021-copyThe infatuation with Carmina Burana can largely be attributed to the text. Although we will be singing in Latin and old versions of German, you can find the entertaining translation at this link.

There were almost 200 poems in the entire Carmina collection which are classified into categories that are: moralistic and satirical; love songs and songs celebrating spring; songs connected with drinking and gambling.

And who doesn’t love a naughty song?  No matter how much things change they stay the same: the topics in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries still resonate today. Wandering scholars went from town to town and weren’t too concerned with conventional society of the time–nor were they concerned with offending people. The poetry was written to be shared immediately, to rail against some current offense, and chiefly to entertain.

So if you see us singing with a wink and a nudge, it’s because we understand the text!

Carmina Burana: You’ve heard that song before

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carmina buranaPlease join us on Saturday, May 3 when we perform Carmina Burana with the Fox Valley Symphony. Tickets are available through the Fox Cities PAC box office by calling the PAC box office or by purchasing tickets online at www.foxcitiespac.org.

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana has become a classic for musicians and audiences because of its percussive music, hypnotic melodies, lilting passages and all-out, smash-mouth, robust orchestration. The rowdy subject matter is set to some of the most beautiful melodies in classical choral literature.

The Carmina were songs of medieval traveling students and ex-monks who left universities and monasteries to pursue a roaring life of gambling, drinking and making love. The texts of the songs were discovered in a Bavarian monastery near Munich in the early 20th-century and are a mixture of 13th-century Latin and “low” German. The songs in the Carmina cover a range of topics, as familiar then as they are today: the fickleness of fortune and wealth, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling and lust.

According to newVoices Artistic Director, Phillip Swan, the masterwork is a welcome collaboration with the symphony. “Choral/orchestral collaborations provide a cross-pollination of musical interests,” Swan said. “Consequently, it’s good for the community to have arts organizations working together to put on quality productions.”

For singers, Carmina Burana is a vocal challenge because of the range of emotions needed to interpret the composer’s music. One movement requires percussive, full-voiced singing while the next movement requires gentle, lyrical singing. In order for a singer to navigate the demands of each movement, it requires constant breath support and precise vocal technique.

And it’s a big sing. The chorus sings in almost every movement, which requires what we call “smart singing.” It’s very easy to over-sing in some sections causing hoarseness, pitch problems and less than lovely tone later in the piece.

“It’s like running a marathon at full speed the whole time,” said Dan Van Sickle, baritone.  “Even the slow and gentle movements have an edge to them – you can’t let down,” he said.

Another challenge for singers is the language. Although we are trained to sing in foreign languages, Orff uses a historical text in middle high German and Latin. That means passages that look like modern German require a different pronunciation characteristic of only this work.

“The challenge is remembering exactly how the conductor will want it sung, knowing that many recordings you might sing along with are not what’s desired,” said Maggie Allen, soprano. “The first time I performed it (from memory) was in traditional Latin and German, not the “old” languages we are doing for this performance.”

The piece also features three solo roles. Lawrence graduate Alisa Jordheim will sing the soprano role which requires extremely high notes in one of the arias. Lawrence voice professor Steven Paul Spears will sing a tenor aria, which must be sung almost completely in falsetto to demonstrate the suffering of the character (in this case, a roasting swan). Chad Sloan will sing the baritone role which features demanding high notes not commonly found in baritone repertoire.

Finally, we will be joined by the Lawrence Arts Academy of Music Capriccio Girl Choir for this performance. This choir is conducted by Jaclyn Kottman who also sings with newVoices.

newVoices YouTube channel is ON!

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nv cabaret hi resSo many of our audience members have asked for videos and we have them! Please visit our newVoices YouTube channel at this link. We’ll have to be a little flexible because naming conventions won’t allow us to present our name as newVoices—you’ll have to call us New Voices on YouTube.

We’re giving a huge shout out of thanks to board member Jim Weiland for being our videographer during concerts. Another thank you to the team at Image Studios in Appleton, WI. Their generosity to arts groups is unparalleled and we thank them for donating editing.

We’ll try to update concert videos as quickly as possible. For now, please enjoy videos from our fall concert “Sing for Life!” and from “Christmas at the Chapel.” We’re busy editing videos from our Cabaret fundraiser, “Falling in Love.”

Be resolved: support the arts!

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Emily Been, Abby & Andy Schmidt and Mike Bryan at Christmas Caroling at Festival Foods. Festival Foods sponsored our 2013 Christmas at the Chapel concert.

Emily Been, Abby & Andy Schmidt and Mike Bryan at Christmas Caroling at Festival Foods. Festival Foods sponsored our 2013 Christmas at the Chapel concert.

The #1 New Year’s Resolution: lose weight. Our #1 New Year’s Resolution: support the local arts.

When you support the local arts (like newVoices) you are investing in organizations that create programming specific to the local community. At newVoices, we tailor every season to the needs and likes of Northeast Wisconsin. We pay attention to the results of the regional L.I.F.E. Study and try to fill the gaps in our community by using vocal music to create community and build relationships.

When you support the local arts (like newVoices) you are investing in the musical activities of your neighbors. Our conductors and singers are the people who teach your kids, who lead your church music programs, who provide individual music lessons. They are also lawyers, business owners, office workers, and moms and dads just like you. Your support provides people in our community with a creative outlet and they, in turn, give back to you in performances.

We are quick to cite our “vibrant cultural life” as one reason we live and work in this area. At newVoices, we are proud to be counted among the arts groups that give color and richness to the community. However, our financial success depends solely on individual contributions—we are funded only by donations, business sponsorships and some grants.

As you consider how you will mark 2014, please consider supporting the local arts either through a financial donation or a donation of your time. Consider some of these ways to help newVoices:

  • $50 will cover purchasing one piece of music for a portion of the ensemble.
  • $75 will help us pay for a portion of one instrumentalist during a concert.
  • $100 will sponsor a singer. This will help us directly underwrite the costs of music for one singer for a season. Your sponsorship would make a wonderful birthday or holiday gift for one of our singers!

Thanks for your past support and be resolved to continue it in 2014!

Girl choir joins newVoices for “A Ceremony of Carols”

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Guest Blogger: Karen Bruno, Director of the Lawrence Academy of Music and Artistic Director of Girl Choir program

Lawrence Academy of Music Bel Canto Girl ChoirThe Bel Canto choir of the Lawrence Academy Girl Choir Program, the only non-profit girl choir program in the Fox Valley, is thrilled to sing with newVoices this December. Bel Canto singers are in grades 10-12 and come from a large number of Fox Valley public, parochial, and home schools. In fact, many of their choir teachers will be on stage with newVoices! Bel Canto rehearses once per week during the academic year and prepares multiple concert programs each semester. As 2013 is the centenary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, we are pleased to sing his master work, A Ceremony of Carols, on this program.  Choirs and orchestras around the globe have been celebrating the centennial by performing Britten’s music; we are pleased to join them!

While traveling by ship from America to Great Britain in 1942, Britten discovered a book of medieval poems that became the basis for A Ceremony of Carols.  Nine poems, a plainchant antiphon, and a harp interlude based on the antiphon comprise the work. The eleven short movements feature women’s choir, soloists, and harp. Not only did Britten compose the work for women’s voices, he selected many poems that are about Mary, or that feature Mary’s role in the annunciation and birth of Jesus. In few Christmas songs or texts is Mary’s role lifted up so visibly. Over the course of the 20th century,  A Ceremony of Carols became standard repertoire for women’s choirs.

The Lawrence Academy Girl Choir program performs this work in its entirety every six years; this is the first opportunity we have had to perform it on another organization’s concert. We are grateful to newVoices conductor Phillip Swan and executive director Jeanne Kurka Reimer for inviting us to be part of this special Christmas program. We are thrilled to share A Ceremony of Carols with the wider community and look forward to hearing newVoices sing additional Christmas classics.