The Oriana Singers [Rebroadcast]

February 8, 2021, 8:00 pm

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This is a rebroadcast from January 27, 2020.

Sopranos: Jenny Haworth, Laura Pinto
Altos: Lindsey Adams, Jessica Melger
Tenors: Matthew Dean, Wain Parham
Basses: Bill Chin, John Orduña
Piano: Julian Chin
Keyboard: Andrew Lawrence

The Oriana Singers have been stretching artistic boundaries since first coming together in 1979. Led by noted conductor William Chin, they have toured Chicagoland and abroad, experimenting with the chemistry of Renaissance songs and contemporary vocal jazz spark for audiences and singers. The six-voice soprano-soprano-alto-tenor-baritone-bass (SSATBB) configuration of The OrianaSingers has been recognized by leading critics for making a difference in presenting a wide range of a cappella music for diverse audiences. This mission has expanded to foster collaborations across disciplines with other artists and nurture emerging choral ensembles for the promotion of self-directing small ensemble singing.

The Oriana Singers is recognized for its innovative programming, complementing existing major arts productions in Chicagoland and offering music otherwise not heard elsewhere. Recent seasons have included performances of music from Monteverdi’s Eighth Book of Madrigals and the Vespers of 1610, contrasted with later programs of polyphonic folk music from Russia, Finland, and Georgia and new arrangements of popular hits from artists including Coldplay and Imogen Heap. The six-voice work of The Oriana Singers is imaginative, eclectic, and impeccably rehearsed, featuring leading vocalists associated with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Bella Voce. The singers and collaborating instrumentalists brought together by The Oriana Singers have been called “world-class” by several internationally versed listeners, including Robert Osterlund, administrator of EarlyMusiChicago, and indeed the group has made successful splashes touring in Spain and Costa Rica.

William Chin, founder and artistic director, has been a leading figure in the Chicago choral scene since he started The Oriana Singers in 1979 as part of the vanguard of small choral ensembles performing a wide repertoire that includes historically informed performances of early music. Bill led its transition from a conducted chamber chorus to a six-voice conductorless vocal ensemble, again in advance of other local groups with a similar format. He is known for his leadership and innovative artistic bridge-building with organizations ranging from the Chicago Symphony Chorus to the Chicago Children’s Choir, dance companies including live appearances with the Joffrey Ballet and Momenta, children’s performing arts organizations, orchestral ensembles such as Chicago Arts Orchestra, and even art galleries. As a performing arts designer and producer, Mr. Chin was instrumental in the founding of Early Music Chicago and the Music At First concert series in Oak Park. In his six-year stint as Artistic Director of Chicago Children’s Choir, he helped to establish its international touring reputation, introduced movement and staging to its top ensemble, and influenced a generation of singers, conductors, and composers who are in turn influencing young musicians today. He has done similar life-changing work with the young singers in Pro Musica Youth Chorus and in his work with amateur singers in City Voices and the chorus for the Symphony of Oak Park and River Forest. Through The Oriana Singers and his involvement with professional singers in the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Schola Antiqua of Chicago, Chicago A Cappella, and as conductor of choral recording sessions for GIA Publications, Bill has helped to further the careers of hundreds of Chicago-area singers.

Biographies courtesy of the artist’s website.

  • Kaipaava, by Finnish Folk Song

  • Wan Wan De Yue Liang, by Chinese Folk Song

  • O Waly, Waly, English Folk Song

  • Ave Verum Corpus, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • As Vesta Was Descending, by Thomas Weelkes