Chicago A Cappella Celebrates the Power and Legacy of African-American Spirituals in "Wade in the Water"

Acclaimed vocal ensemble presents world premiere of new commission by Joseph Jennings, and welcomes Mr. Jennings for two post-concert discussions.

Chicago, ILChicago a cappella will inspire and move audiences at its upcoming concert of African-American spirituals, Wade in the Water .  The acclaimed vocal ensemble will perform the world premiere of a new commission, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” by Grammy Award-winning arranger Joseph Jennings, former music director of the men’s choral group Chanticleer. Mr. Jennings will participate in free post-concert chats following the Evanston and Oak Park performances.  Artistic Director Jonathan Miller’s new cycle, OId Testament Spirituals , also receives its world premiere at this concert.  Audiences will hear both traditional and contemporary spirituals, including jubilant and powerful arrangements by Robert Morris, Moses Hogan, and Oak Park composer Paul Carey.  Lobby displays by the Bronzeville Historical Society will provide audiences a deeper understanding of the music’s historical context.  Join Chicago a cappella for this profound and uplifting musical experience.
Wade in the Water will take place Friday, February 3, 2012, at 8:00 pm, at Anne and Howard Gottlieb Hall, 38 S. Peoria St. in Chicago, IL; Saturday, February 4, at 8:00 pm, at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave. in Naperville, IL; Saturday, February 11, at 8:00 pm, at Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave. in Evanston, IL; and Sunday, February 12, at 4:00 pm, at Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St.  in Oak Park, IL. For tickets and information, visit or call (773) 281-7820.
  The Spiritual

An uplifting and jubilant program of African-American spirituals will illuminate this important musical legacy in Chicago a cappella’s new concert, Wade in the Water .  Composer Robert Morris revels in this great American tradition with “I’m Tired, Lord” and his powerful, gospel-tinged “Save Me, Lord.”  Classic arrangements of familiar melodies will include Nathaniel Dett’s “Walk Togedder, Childron” (as recorded on Chicago a cappella’s CD of Spirituals, Go Down, Moses ) and Oak Park-based composer Paul Carey’s gripping, pensive arrangement of “Blin’ Man.” Chicago a cappella demonstrates the evolution of this rich heritage with music by Jester Hairston, Moses Hogan, Marques Garrett, and Lela Anderson.  As a centerpiece of the concert, Artistic Director Jonathan Miller unveils a new cycle, Old Testament Spirituals .   The multi-movement work opens with “Little David Play on Your Harp,” and continues with “Daniel, Moses, Joshua,” a layered, multi-textured setting combining three different spirituals.  Chicago a cappella is proud to present the world premiere of this exciting new work.
Joseph Jennings

Joseph Jennings, former director of Chanticleer, joined that acclaimed male vocal ensemble as a countertenor in 1983 and shortly thereafter assumed the title of Music Director, which he held until 2008. A prolific composer and arranger, Mr. Jennings provided the group with some of its most popular repertoire, most notably spirituals, gospel music, and jazz standards. Under his direction, Chanticleer released 30 critically-acclaimed recordings, including the Grammy Award-winners Colors of Love and Lamentations and Praises, and performed at many of the world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls. Among Mr. Jennings many honors, he received Chorus America’s Michael Korn Founders Award for Development of the Professional Choral Art and ASCAP’s Concert Music Award.  He currently serves as Artist in Residence at the University of South Carolina Aiken and Visiting Artist at the University of South Carolina.  Chicago a cappella commissioned Mr. Jennings to write a new arrangement for their upcoming concert, and the ensemble will present the world premiere of “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.”  Mr. Jennings will engage audiences in free post-concert discussions following the Evanston and Oak Park performances.

Chicago a cappella
Chicago a cappella is one of the area’s most accomplished and innovative vocal ensembles. Spanning a repertoire from Gregorian chant to the Beatles and beyond, the group is presenting its 19th season under founding Artistic Director Jonathan Miller .  With musical preparation by Music Director Patrick Sinozich, the ensemble was hailed as “boundary-busting” (Chicago Tribune) and has been praised for their “well-balanced tone and deep emotional involvement” (Washington Post).

Calendar Editors, Please Note:
[Category: Performing Arts / Music / Classical Music]

Chicago a cappella: Wade in the Water
Fri., 2/3/12, 8:00 pm, Anne and Howard Gottlieb Hall, 38 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL
Sat., 2/4/12, 8:00 pm, Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville, IL
Sat., 2/11/12, 8:00 pm, Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL
Sun., 2/12/12, 4:00 pm, Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake St., Oak Park, IL
Tickets: $35 / $28 / $22 seniors / $12 students / group rates available
Tickets and information: (773) 281-7820 or
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