The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music news: Madison Summer Choir will go authentically Baroque this year. It holds auditions on Monday, May 14, and then starts rehearsals on May 21 with a public performance on July 1.

May 10, 2012
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By Jacob Stockinger

It’s that time again.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison ends its spring semester with classes this week, finals next week, and graduation ceremonies on May 19 and 20.

Then comes the unofficial start of summer – when many avid community singers find themselves without an outlet.

Until recently.

For the fourth year, the Madison Summer Choir (below, performing last year) will take place, although the venue of its public concert at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 1, will change from Mills Hall on the UW campus to the First Congregational United Church of Christ, across from Camp Randall Stadium. (NOTE: Contrary to what was earlier stated here, the July 1 concert is NOT free, as it has been for the past three years. Admission will be $8, $5 for seniors and students, and is designed to cover the cost of renting the church.)

It is a fine group that in past summers has brought memorable performances of classic and contemporary music, including major works like Saint-Saens’ “Requiem” and Morton Lauridsen’s “Lux Aeterna.” It pulls a lot together very quickly and very well.

This year, the program  “Honors the Blessed Virgin Mary” by featuring Baroque music and period instruments. That makes it a fine run-up or introduction to the Madison Early Music Festival, which follows it in July.

Here are details from the founder and director of the 80-voice Madison Summer Choir, UW alumnus Ben Luedcke (below), the talented and energetic man who is also the director of the Lake Edge United Church of Christ among other posts he holds:

Here are notes to the fascinating and eclectic program: “Madison Summer Choir presents a concert honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary with a plethora of devotional Marian texts set by inventive titans of their time, including Benjamin Britten, Franz Liszt, Edvard Grieg, William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria.

“It will culminate with choral/instrumental mid-sized works by Claudio Monteverdi (below), Michael Praetorius, Domenico Scarlatti and Giovanni Gabrieli, and will feature Baroque period string instruments that use gut strings instead of metal and a different kind of bow.”

The Madison Summer Choir runs 6 weeks: May 21 through the end of June (see ** below for additional information).

Rehearsals are Mondays and Tuesdays 5:15-7:15 p.m., 1351 Mosse Humanities Building on campus.

The  Concert is on Sunday, July 1, at 7 p.m. in the First Congregational UCC (across from Camp Randall)

Members’ dues are: $30 for students; $45 for community members. Concert admission is $8, $5 for seniors and students.

**Wed., May 30, 5:15-7:15 p.m. (make-up for Memorial Day holiday)

**Wed., June 20, 5:15-7:15 p.m. (extra rehearsal)

**Thursday, June 28, 5:15-7:15 p.m. Dress Rehearsal at First Congregational United Church of Christ

Members of the UW-Madison or community auditioned ensembles do NOT need to audition; otherwise contact to set up an audition time during the evening of Monday, May 14.

If you are interested, you should RSVP and include the choir that you currently sing with (if any) and your voice part to:

For more information, go to:

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