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Muscatine Civic Chorale puts on a jolly good show

2013-04-04T17:33:00Z Muscatine Civic Chorale puts on a jolly good showCharles Potter Muscatine Journal
April 04, 2013 5:33 pm  • 
MUSCATINE, Iowa — The British are coming! The British are coming!
Well, their music is, at least.
Tunes from across "The Big Pond" will sail into to Muscatine Friday, April 12, when the Muscatine Civic Chorale presents its spring concert, "A British Invasion." The program will present a wide range of British music from Renaissance madrigals to the high Anglican church music of Henry Purcell to the wonderfully crafted Twentieth Century music of Benjamin Britten and John Rutter to the popular styles of Elton John and the Beatles.
Jan Phillips, the Civic Chorale's conductor, says her inspiration for selecting an all British program came from the Olympic games in London last summer. "When I was at a choral convention in July, digging through music, trying to come up with something that would be fun and challenging, I was inundated with London," she explains.  "Every time I turned the TV on, there it was with the Olympics.  I thought it would be fun to do a lot of this.
"Also, we have the versatility of both the music and the Chorale.  We have this wonderful church music, and things from musicals — and even though my mom and dad didn't like it, we've got the Beatles and other music from the '60s."
Phillips says preparing for the concert has been a learning experience for her and, she believes, the chorale too. 
"I've always had a deep appreciation for the difficulty of English madrigals — those polyphonic lines," she said. "Also, one of my favorite pieces in this concert is the Benjamin Britten "Festival Te Deum."  His genius — and the way he can take something that sounds easy but is complex.  The chorale has learned from the experience."
Phillips promises the concert will end with a surprise, but she won't hint what it is.  "You'll have to come find out," she says.
More about the Chorale
According to the Muscatine Civic Chorale's mission statement, the group's goal "is to provide all members of the community an opportunity to experience high quality vocal music of various styles and time periods."

The Muscatine Civic Chorale was founded by a group of people who shared an interest in singing. The first concert, the “Dettingen Te Deum” by Handel was held in April 1975. The chorale offers two concerts each year, one in the winter and one in the spring, and performs a wide variety of music from early 17th century works to new contemporary compositions; from Broadway selections to opera choruses.

No auditions are required to join the chorale. For more information, call  Phillips at 563-288-6038.

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