The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Music by four Wisconsin composers will be sung by the Festival Choir of Madison this coming Saturday night at the First Unitarian Society. | March 3, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

This Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, the Festival Choir of Madison (below) will perform a program of music called “Wisconsin Sings!”

Festival Choir of Madison at FUS

The concert features new and recent works by four composers with strong Wisconsin ties.

The program includes:

“Four Mystical Poems” by Eric William Barnum (below).

Eric William Barnum

“The Night Has a Thousand Eyes” and “Make Me a Dream” (a world premiere finished just a few weeks ago) by Jerry Hui (below), a UW-Madison School of Music graduate who now teaches choral music at UW-Stout and who also performs early music with the Madison-based group Eliza’s Toyes.

Jerry Hui

“Under Your Feet” and “And Dream Awhile” by Blake Henson (below).

blake henson

Adoramus Te, Sanctus Parvulus” by Zach Moore (below)

Zach Moore horizonital

There will be a pre-concert Lecture at 6:30 p.m.

Ticket prices are $9 for students, $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors.

Tickets are available at the door or at:

Here is the origin of the program, as the choir director Bryson Mortensen (below), who also teaches at the UW-Rock County, explains it:

Bryson Mortensen (1)

“A few years ago, I attended a conference in the Twin Cities where there was a concert composed entirely of pieces by living Minnesota composers.

“After leaving the concert, I thought, “surely Wisconsin could do the same!”

“Since then I have been digging up pieces and meeting composers in Wisconsin who could contribute works to the program.

“After all these years, we have put together a concert that presents the music of four composers who live in, have studied in or come from Wisconsin.

“From the nationally and internationally recognized music of composers like Blake Henson, Jerry Hui and Eric William Barnum to the young and blossoming composer Zach Moore, the concert presents a variety of styles and moods that make for a great evening together.”

For more information about the Festival Choir of Madison, here is a link to the choir’s homepage:

In the YouTube video below, you can hear the Festival Choir of Madison singing the Low Mass by French composer Gabriel Fauré:



  1. Are there no women writing choral music in the state of WI? A missed opportunity – this being Women’s History Month.


    Comment by Kathy O — March 3, 2015 @ 7:33 am

    • Great question and perhaps a shocking omission by the people who put together the program.

      I can think of at least one, Marga Richter, born in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, in 1926. She studied at Julliard (including piano with the incomparable Rosalyn Turek) and founded the Long Island Composers Alliance.

      At least 13 CD’s have been recorded of her works (including the London Philharmonic and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra) which included compositions for the organ, piano, harpsichord, chamber music, orchestra and ballet. Her choral works include “Psalm 91” (for a mixed chorus); “Three Songs of Madness and Death” for a mixed chorus; “Three Christmas Songs”; “Three Songs on Poems of Emily Dickinson”; “To Whom” (text by V. Woolf); “Seek Him” (From the Book of Amos) etc.

      For more information, see

      Since Marga Richter is now at an advanced age (I believe she lives in the NYC area), maybe including one of her works in this performance would be a fitting tribute to her noble life.


      Comment by fflambeau — March 3, 2015 @ 9:36 pm

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