More than 100 church choir members join for final concert

Posted on May 1, 2015 by

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

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