Philharmonic Chorale celebrates 90th Season with Christmas Concert at ICC

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

The Philharmonic Chorale is celebrating its 90th season with its concert entitled, "Christmas with the Philharmonic Chorale," at 3 p.m. Dec. 7 at Illinois Central College Performing Arts Center in East Peoria. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.

The concert opens with three energetic pieces, all by major German composers: J.S. Bach's Sicut Locutus Est, Hans Leo Hassler's well-known Verbum Caro Factum Est, and Felix Mendelssohn's contrapuntal There Shall a Star Come Out of Jacob.

Also in the first half of the concert, the chorale is joined by harp and violin in Rene Clausen's Calm, On the Listening Ear of Night, a gently moving piece that heralds the very first Christmas morn.  The last piece before intermission is the fast-paced and joyful work, O Shepherds Run, with words and music by contemporary American composer Jim Leininger.

The second half of the concert features harp and oboe in Stephen Paulus' Three Nativity Carols, which are soulful and lovely, despite being somewhat dissonant. Some of the final songs in the concert include the quiet and reflective In the Bleak Midwinter, by Harold Darke, and the exciting Have You Seen the Baby, by Ruth Morris Gray.

The program also includes four familiar carols with the purpose of audience participation. Following the concert, the audience is invited to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Philharmonic Chorale with a cookies and punch reception.

The chorale was formed in 1925 by the Amateur Musical Club strictly as a women's chorus. In the late 1960's, it became a mixed chorus, and finally affiliated with Illinois Central College as a chorus in-residence in the middle of the 1980's. The group's purpose has always been to promote choral music through performance, and its singers come from all around the Central Illinois area. Mr. J. Michael Morris, who received both his Bachelor of Music Education degree and his Master's degree in Choral Conducting from Bradley University, has been directing the chorale for the past twelve years.

For reservations or more information, contact the ICC Performing Arts Center Box Office at (309) 694-5136.