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Church Choir Workshop a success!

Posted on by newVoices

Exactly HOW do you get 200 singers on the stage of the Lawrence Chapel? Very carefully!!

Thank you to the 120+ church choir singers from regional churches who attended our first ever Church Choir Workshop and to HEID MUSIC for sponsoring the event. Sessions included a master class in vocal instruction, tips on sight reading and rehearsal technique and a massed rehearsal with newVoices. The culmination: all church choir singers joined us onstage for the final concert of the season, a joyous hymn sing. Special thanks to Lawrence University instructor Karen Leigh-Post for sharing her talent and wisdom with the singers. Also thanks to newVoices singers Erica Hamilton and Assistant Conductor Dan Van Sickle for teaching the workshops (both Erica and Dan are LU grads!). Some candid photos of the event follow.

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More than 100 church choir members join for final concert

Posted on by newVoices

NewVoices_Dec-2014_036The final concert of newVoices’ 2014-15 season will end with a community-wide hymn sing and a program of familiar hymns and sacred music. Area church choirs will participate in the ensemble’s first Church Choir Workshop that day AND perform with newVoices in the evening concert, OneVoice – An Ecumenical Community Celebration in Song, Saturday, May 9, 2015, 7:30 pm at the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel, Appleton.

The vision of a “hymn sing” is a non-denominational event to bring church choirs, audience members and singers in newVoices together to praise in song. Program selections include traditional hymns, modern praise music and contemporary compositions.

Central to the program is the presentation of “Lux Aeterna” by Morten Lauridsen—or Eternal LIght. This choral masterwork weaves the text of eternal light throughout five movements and will be presented when singers from newVoices tour Italy this summer. The rest of the program presents familiar hymns and workshop members will join the choir for three selections.

According to conductor Phillip Swan, the “Lux Aeterna” holds special meaning for him because he rehearsed this piece in 2000 with a church choir while he was doing doctoral work in Miami. At the time, this was only a few years after its premiere. “It made an immediate and lasting impression on the choir, the congregation, and me due to the deceptive simplicity of the work yet the difficult, tight harmonies,” Swan said. The work is characterized by deep, sonorous harmonies and beautiful layered melodies.

“This is a very personal work for the composer,” Swan said.  “His mother passed away while he was writing the work. Consequently, the composition is influenced by this emotional period, as he weaves a message of hope through this work about Eternal Light,” Swan said.

The choir has never hosted a community-wide hymn sing, but these are popular in other communities and in churches. In a program such as this, familiar, sacred songs are performed and audience members are encouraged to sing along. For this concert, newVoices will also perform: Blessed Be the name of the Lord, Give Me Jesus, If I Should Ascend, The Majesty and Glory of Your Name, Total Praise, O Clap Your Hands, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing and more.

Church Choir Workshop reaches new audiences

The half-day workshop for regional church choirs and music directors will provide opportunities for improving choral singing, individual singing techniques and conducting. Individuals will then join newVoices to perform in the evening concert. The workshop is sponsored by Heid Music.

“We have wanted to provide this learning experience for regional church choirs for a very long time,” said Executive Director Kristopher Ulrich. “Many of our audience members are active in church choirs and would like to sing with us, so this gives them the opportunity,” he said.

The workshop will feature presenters from within the newVoices ensemble, many of whom are music teachers or church choir conductors. Attendees will participate in a vocal master class, learn sight reading techniques, rehearsal techniques, and attend presentations from Heid Music.

“Many of our church choir singers have never had the benefit of vocal instruction and sincerely want to learn how to be better musicians,” said Phyllis Klee, a longtime singer in newVoices and a member of Appleton’s Faith Lutheran church choir. “This is a wonderful opportunity for them to put their instruction into practice and perform on the stage of the Lawrence Chapel.”

Registration for the workshop closes April 27 and the $25 fee includes the workshop, dinner, gift cards to Heid Music and a concert ticket. Workshop details are as follows:

  • Saturday, May 9, 2015, Lawrence University,
  • Registration starts 11:30, Workshops noon-4:30, dinner 5 pm, concert 7:30 pm
  • Cost: $20 per person before April 6, 2015, and $25/person afterwards until April 27, 2015.

Tickets for the concert are $20 for Premium seating and $18 for Non-Premium seating.   Senior, student and group discounts are available. Tickets may be purchased by calling newVoices at 920-832-9700 or online at www.newvoiceschoir.org.

Learn More: Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna

Posted on by newVoices

This choral masterpiece will be the feature of our May 9 concert, oneVoice: An Ecumenical Community Celebration in Song, 7:30 pm, Lawrence Memorial Chapel. The work is presented in five movements. 

NewVoices_Dec-2014_031There are rare moments in this world when a piece of art is so alluring it captures your entire existence and takes it on a ride through the infinite. Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna is a perfect example of this exquisite encounter.

He wrote this piece with the primary intent of making connections: a visceral connection to the music and an emotional connection between the audience sharing the performance. NewVoices Artistic Director Phillip Swan has a deep connection with this choral masterpiece.

“The work stirs up great depths of emotion, catapulting one through feelings of loss, sorrow, hope, and rest,” Swan said. “It is a work that I was introduced to and helped to prepare for a church choir in Miami during the Lenten season in 2000 (just three years after the premiere). It made an immediate and lasting impression on the choir, the congregation, and me.” It is our sincere hope that this gorgeous piece also makes a lasting impression with you all at our next concert.

Lux Aeterna may not be the piece most commonly associated with Lauridsen, but the similarities between this masterwork and his most recognizable piece, O Magnum Mysterium. are endless. What’s most interesting is Lauridsen took a break from composing Lux Aeterna in 1994 to write the Christmas Canticle, O Magnum Mysterium. Lauridsen writes about the composing process,“The serenity and the uncomplicated and lyric style of O Magnum Mysterium are continued in Lux Aeterna.” Many in our choir and audience have performed O Magnum Mysterium in high school or collegiate choirs, and will be able to recognize Lauridsen’s musical vocabulary immediately.

For those who have yet to experience Lauridsen’s works, no one can describe them better than the maestro himself. He explains Lux Aeterna “is an intimate work of quiet serenity centered around a universal symbol of hope, reassurance, goodness and illumination at all levels.” His music is truly and intentionally transparent and he writes,

“I didn’t want to write an elitist piece that only the very best choirs in the world could perform. I wanted to write a piece that would be within reach of many people, many performers. It’s a piece with a message, and I didn’t want to complicate that message with complicated musical language.”

While Lauridsen presents a simple harmonic language, Lux Aeterna is not simple to perform. According to Swan, “it’s beautiful, but extremely difficult to accurately execute the tight harmonies. Communicating the long, lyrical Latin lines require emotional understanding is as well.”

There is a sense of vulnerability in performing a work that is so tonal in nature. Lauridsen’s harmonically straightforward language provides the audience with the ability to detect the subtle tuning complications. By contrast, newVoices has performed works by contemporary choral composer Eric Whitacre, characterized by massive chord clusters that fill up the Chapel in a wash of overwhelming colors.

Lauridsen intentionally related Lux Aeterna to Renaissance forms and structures. The piece was commissioned by Paul Salamunovich who is a leading expert on Gregorian chant and Renaissance music. Lauridsen writes

“…while I do not incorporate an overt reference to the single line chant anywhere in the piece, the conjunct and flowing melodic lines contributing to the works’ overall lyricism and the chant-like phrase structures creating seamlessness throughout certainly have their underpinnings in the chant literature.”

The intimacy in Lauridsen’s work is due to the deep emotional and personal experiences that inspired him to create Lux Aeterna. He writes

“I composed ‘Lux Aeterna’ in response to my Mother’s final illness and found great personal comfort and solace in setting to music these timeless and wondrous words about Light, a universal symbol of illumination at all levels—spiritual, artistic, and intellectual.”

“Consequently, the composition is influenced by this emotional period, as he weaves a message of hope through this work about Eternal Light,” Swan said.

Lauridsen’s deep internal connection to this particular work is apparent not only in the notes on the page, but also in the way that it is performed. Loss is a universal theme in our lives, but so is finding solitude in the comfort of music and the company of our loved ones. We can’t wait to share our love for Lux Aeterna with you, so that you can then connect and share it with those that you love as well.

–Authored by Justin Gingrich, newVoices intern



Online Auction opens

Posted on by newVoices

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What do you get the person who has everything? A really memorable experience—and that’s just what’s in store for you when you participate in newVoices Online Auction. Thanks to our generous supporters, all the items on the auction have been donated! That means all income will go directly to support our Italy tour this summer.

The auction will be April 2-12 and it is being hosted on www.biddingforgood.com. It’s very easy—all you do is visit the site and register, make bids on our auction items and BiddingforGood alerts you if you have been out-bid. (We hope you keep bidding!). Follow this link to go directly to our auction.

Rather than “things,” we wanted to focus on experiences that you wouldn’t normally do. Some of those special moments include:

  • Packers Tailgate Party Includes Four tickets for a Gold Package Green Bay Packers Game in the 2015 Season.
  • 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits Two daily ground passes for Wednesday, Aug 12, 2015.
  • Pick the Wine and Plan the Party Host a wine tasting party in your own home with wine from Stone’s Throw Winery. Includes one night stay for two at Blacksmith Inn on the Shore in Bailey’s Harbor.
  • Geology Hike Enjoy the beauty of Mosquito Hill Nature Center in a new way – with a geology twist. Conducted by Dr. Beth A. Johnson, professor of geology at UW-Fox Valley, and a member of the newVoices.
  • Guest Conductor The highest bidder will have the chance to conduct one song at a newVoices concert, under the tutelage of Assistant Conductor Dan Van Sickle.
  • Hot air balloon ride for two A one-of-a-kind sightseeing tour of the Fox Valley.

If you have any questions about the auction, please email info@newvoiceschoir.org or call our office. Hope to see you bidding!

Local “celebrities” take the stage in newVoices fundraiser

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Len lo res

WAPL’s Len Nelson will play his accordion in a rock/love song/parody to raise money for newVoices in the newTalent fundraiser. To donate to Len, visit www.newvoicesnewtalent.com

Make sure your Valentine’s Day plans include an evening out to see “Northeast Wisconsin’s got newTALENT” which is a new twist on our annual fundraiser. This year, area “celebrities” will compete to see who can raise the most money for newVoices by taking their talent to the stage in a live performance.

The audience will decide which celebrities bring the most to the stage! One act will win the People’s Choice by raising the most donations that evening.  Another act will win the Critic’s Choice by raising the most donations prior to the event. Every act wins by performing live, on-stage:  singing or playing an instrument to favorite selections from Broadway, the swing era, or a 50’s or jazz standard. And since it’s Valentine’s Day—we will feature love songs from the silly to the sublime. Presented in an intimate nightclub setting, the audience will also hear solos, small groups, and the full newVoices ensemble in live performance.


LEN NELSON, WAPL radio morning host who will thrill us with music from his accordion. Yes, the King of Classic Rock plays accordion!
MARK SCHEFFLER, founder of The Appleton Group, will prove he can conduct music as well as the markets and lead the choir in his own composition.
SHARON HULCE, owner of Employee Resource Group, will bring her sassy, sultry voice to the stage.
RON ALTENBURG, an accountant from Schenck, will prove that bean counters can croon.

You can support each of these celebrities by voting for them prior to the event–or attend the event and do your voting that evening! It’s easy to donate online, visit this link on our websiteTo donate to a specific celebrity, find the line that states “Please Use My Donation For:” There will be a pull-down menu at this point. Simply click on the pull-down menu and select the name of the celebrity you wish to support. Then, follow the directions for the rest of the online form.

EVENT:  Northeast Wisconsin’s got Talent or “newTALENT”
DATE:  February 14, 2015, 7:30 pm
LOCATION:  Fox Cities Performing Arts Center – Kimberly-Clark Theater
TO BENEFIT:  newVoices – Northeast Wisconsin’s Vocal Artists

If you have any questions, please call our office at 920-832-9700. Please remember tickets for this event are not available online and you will need to call our office. For more information on the event, please visit this link.


Christmas at the Chapel features Rutter “Gloria”

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toni sings“Christmas at the Chapel” will feature a performance of John Rutter’s “Gloria,” a festive and flamboyant work that makes a fitting prelude to the holiday season. Rutter is best known for his Christmas carols that he started composing in his teens—pundits have said only Santa has a busier Christmas than John Rutter!

In the “Gloria,” you will be treated to all three movements of the work accompanied by brass, percussion, tympani and the Chapel organ. Singers from newVoices will take the women’s solo movements. The work features a range of power and dynamics with the brass reaching thrilling heights proclaiming Christ’s birth.

We hope you take a moment and listen to samples of the “Gloria” performed by the Cambridge Singers, Rutter’s own mixed voice chamber/choral group formed in 1981. These are samples of their YouTube recordings and, of course, you’ll hear it in live performance at our “Christmas at the Chapel” concert on December 20.

Rutter “Gloria,” Movement 1, The Cambridge Singers

Rutter “Gloria,” Movement 2, The Cambridge Singers

Rutter “Gloria,” Movement 3, The Cambridge Singers

The text is taken from the liturgy of the Catholic mass “Glory to God in the Highest” and is sung in Latin. We will have the translation in our program, but the words are familiar to many Catholics:

Glória inexcélsis Deo et in terra paxhomínibusbonaevoluntátis.Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will.Laudámus te, benedícimus te, adorámus te, glorificámus te,grátias ágimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam,We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory,

Dómine Deus, Rex cæléstis, Deus Pater omnípotens.

Lord God, heavenly King,O God, almighty Father.

Dómine Fili Unigénite, Iesu Christe, Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris,

Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,

qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis; qui tollis peccáta mundi, súscipe deprecatiónem nostram.

you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer.

Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis.

you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

Quóniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dóminus, tu solus Altíssimus, Jesu Christe, cum Sancto Spíritu: in glória Dei Patris. Amen.

For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

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

Posted on by newVoices
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!