Grant Park Apprentice Chorale & Project Inclusion

June 21, 2017, 12:15 pm

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Apprentice Chorale
Apprentice Chorale

Grant Park Music Festival’s Chorus Director Christopher Bell returns to Preston Bradley Hall with the Apprentice Chorale and Project Inclusion String Quartet.


The Grant Park Music Festival’s
Apprentice Chorale with
Project Inclusion String Quartet
Christopher Bell, Conductor

Ubi Caritas (5’) by Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)

A Suite of Madrigals (4’)
All Creatures Now by John Bennet (1575 – 1614)
Weep, O Mine Eyes by John bennet
Now Is the Month of Maying by Thomas Morley (1557 – 1602)

Alaska Spring (11’) by Libby Larsen (b. 1950)
I. April
II. Extending the Range
III. Fiddlehead
IV. Juncos
V. Walking the Marsh

Three Nonsense Songs (3’) by Mátyás Seiber (1905 – 1960)
I. There Was an Old Man in a Tree
II. There Was an Old Lady of France
III. There Was an Old Person of Cromar

Laissez-moi mes rêves (4’) by Louis Sauter (b. 1955)

Autumn Leaves (4’) by Joseph Kosma (1905 – 1969)

Let’s Do It (4’) by Cole Porter (1891 – 1964), arr. David Blackwell


Now in his 16th Season with the Grant Park Music Festival, Christopher Bell has served as Chorus Director of the Grant Park Chorus since 2002. Bell oversees a chorus of more than 100 singers, along with the Apprentice Chorale made up of young singers from local universities. Bell prepares all of the Festival’s choral programs, and conducts the orchestra and chorus for several concerts each season. During his tenure he and the chorus have been recipients of the coveted Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence given by Chorus America as well as glowing reviews from both critics and audiences alike. In 2013, Bell won the Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art.

In addition to working with Grant Park, Christopher Bell is the Chorus Master of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Junior Chorus. Largely responsible for the formation of the National Youth Choir of Scotland in 1996, he has been its Artistic Director ever since. The National Youth Choir of Scotland has won a prestigious Royal Philharmonic Society Award, and performed at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival to great acclaim. In 2012, Bell was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music from the Royal Conservatoire in Scotland in recognition of his contribution to performing arts in Scotland.

Born in Belfast, Mr. Bell was educated at Edinburgh University and held his first post as Associate Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony. Since then, he has worked with many of the major orchestras in the UK and Ireland, including the Royal Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Royal Scottish National and BBC Scottish Symphony. He is well-known for his abilities to work with young musicians. Before his current posts with the RSNO Junior Chorus and the National Youth Choir of Scotland, he was the founding conductor of the Ulster Youth Choir and director of the TOTAL Aberdeen Youth Choir for six years.

The position of Chorus Director is partially underwritten by a generous gift from Joyce Saxon.

Grant Park Music Festival Chorus Director Christopher Bell leads the Apprentice Chorale, an advance training program for pre-professional vocal students from DePaul University and the University of Illinois – Chicago. After a rigorous audition process, select students are given the opportunity to rehearse and perform with the Grant Park Chorus in Millennium Park and perform at other venues around the city.

Project Inclusion is a unique training opportunity for singers and string players from diverse backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the symphonic orchestral and choral world. The program aims to increase diversity among orchestra ensembles and guide young musicians toward successful professional careers in music. Outstanding young career professionals are hand-selected by the Festival to rehearse and perform as part of the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, and receive one-on-one mentoring from seasoned orchestra musicians. Project Inclusion Fellows also perform at community concerts in neighborhoods around the city and take part in workshops for Classical Campers.