Monteverdi Chorale marks 30 years
As part of Monteverdi Chorale’s 30th season, an annual favorite returns to inspire: the Sweetheart Cabaret.
The evening begins with social time and a silent auction from 5:30 until 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center, when dinner and entertainment are served.
Tickets are $55 and must be purchased by Sunday, Feb. 12. Price includes a meal complete with house salad, vegetable, rolls, coffee or tea, and a dessert. Entrée choices are Delmonico ribeye steak, pan-seared tilapia and garden vegetable marinara, and may be chosen when ordering tickets.
Tickets may be obtained via email at [email protected], by calling 715-344-5037, or from any Monteverdi member.
The cabaret performance – in its 14th year – includes the entire Chorale, as well as solos, duets and small ensembles. The largest fundraiser for Monteverdi, the event also is one of the most fun experiences for members and the audience.
“It’s different from the other concerts we do,” Artistic Director James Carpenter said. “Most of the program is made up of solos, duets and small ensembles that the members developed themselves and prepared themselves.
“There’s a huge variety of music, it’s a fun event,” he said.
Monteverdi Chorale was established in 1986 with a mission of providing excellent choral music reflecting various periods and styles performed by auditioned musicians through concerts and events at local and regional venues.
“One of my goals has really been to expand our repertoire in genres, languages, different collaborations with other ensembles and being able to tour occasionally,” Carpenter said.
Following the cabaret, the group is looking forward to continuing its efforts to enhance the music world. The membership stays around 60, but the faces change annually and ages range from teens into 80.
Most members have extensive choral performance backgrounds and many have classical vocal training, but they also come from a wide variety of professions, including teachers, students, executives, foresters, nurses and IT professionals, which helps maintain freshness, quality and variety.
“We have a core,” said John Lay, executive director. “Some of us have been in this a long, long time, we have younger people who get in their careers and move on, so we have a rotating membership.”
Annually, there are about four to five positions to fill. Though auditions were held earlier this month, tenors still are needed.
Monteverdi Chorale is not to be confused with Wisconsin Master Chorale, which is a separate group that formed about 15 years ago after breaking away from Monteverdi.
Monteverdi prides itself not only on its quality and diversity of performances, but also its continued efforts to collaborate with other local and regional – and sometimes international – performing organizations.
“It’s our desire to continue to bring this quality to the community, and it takes a lot of work from selection of members to choice of repertoire to the support we are able to get,” Lay said.
“Our collaborations are very positive things, and we hope to continue to increase some of that,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to work in a different market … I love collaborations. When we do collaborations, everyone benefits from it.”
Carpenter and the Monteverdi Chorale has been invited to work with Wausau Lyric Choir, Wisconsin Rapids groups, the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association, perform in Appleton and Milwaukee venues, and participate in joint concerts with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra.
While the majority of Monteverdi’s performances are in central Wisconsin, the group has also traveled across the country and internationally. In the summer of 2005, the Chorale traveled to Ireland, performing in cathedrals in Galway, Armagh and Dublin. The highlight of the tour was a performance for a capacity audience in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“We don’t just sing,” Lay said. “We do a lot of things together. We do a lot to build community. We are a community choir in that members come from the community but we also are a community in itself. We make friends, socialize and come together around that particular interest of choral singing.”
Concerts – and the Sweetheart Cabaret in particular – are supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin, and in partnership with Wisconsin Public Radio and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Monteverdi Chorale is in its 30th performance season. Singers hail from Stevens Point, Plover, Mosinee, Wisconsin Rapids, Wausau, Junction City, Rosholt, Amherst, Custer, Marshfield, Stratford, Coloma, Manawa, and Wautoma.
Monteverdi’s concert season consists of two performances in December and the spring of each year and a mid-winter pop dinner concert. The chorale is also available to perform at private and organizational functions throughout the year.
The Chorale also has CDs available for purchase. For more information, call 715-344-5037.