There’s a unique training opportunity coming up for singers in San Antonio.
“I’m not sure there’s ever been a world music symposium in San Antonio before, so Benissimo Music is collaborating with Trinity University and we’re going to put on this wonderful two-day event" said Benissimo Music's Ruth Moreland.
Moreland said there will be master classes and they are bringing in Balkan music specialist Eva Salina Primack.
This weekend hundreds of singers will gather in San Antonio, but what they sing isn’t common. So much so that I had to look up Sacred Harp singing to be sure of what it was. After doing so, I caught up with a pair of its practitioners in a noisy Portland Oregon train station.
"It’s an old southern hymn tradition that’s still alive, and in the last 10 or 20 years has broken out of the south and taken root worldwide," said John Berendzen.
Many of us may think of chamber choir music as formal and perhaps a bit stuffy. But after speaking to San Antonio Chamber Choir Board President Carl Leafstedt, maybe we've come to that conclusion too quickly. First, Leafstedt reminds us of exactly who they are and what they do.
“The San Antonio Chamber Choir is an organization of professional voices, it’s a paid choir of many of the city’s top voices" he said. "Our mission is to perform music that is not often performed in South Texas -- very difficult and unusual repertory sometimes, at the very highest levels."
Conspirare is a choral group that works out of Austin and a few times a year they make it to San Antonio. But calling them an Austin choral group though isn’t entirely accurate..
"Actually only a small number of the singers are here in Austin," said Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson. "This is an ensemble of singers from around the country, really. Each of them is a soloist in their own right. They may be performing art songs, or operatically, or on Broadway, or in faculty positions, and yet come together and form a choir of soloists, in a sense."
There is much to sing about in the way of holiday performances in San Antonio this weekend. Scott MacPherson, the conductor and artistic director of the San Antonio Chamber Choir, details what they’re doing in their Holiday concerts.
"We are very lucky to be performing for the first time at San Fernando Cathedral," MacPherson said. "Our holiday concert is called Time for the Season! We have an invited guest choir from Judson High School under the direction of Kay Sherrill. It’s really wonderful to pair up our professional choir with a local high school group."
Local singing ensemble Voci di Sorelle is celebrating a decade of singing together, but the group didn't set out that way, according to founder and Artistic Director Ruth Moreland.
"Well actually this group started as just a one-time composition project," Moreland said. "When we got together in the summer of 2003 it was just magical."
So magical that they couldn’t see stopping. Now they’re celebrating their first decade at a Christmas concert they’re calling "Sing We Noel." The concert takes place on Sunday, December 15 at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word.
Conspirare is a professional chamber choir from Austin that sings different types of music, from medieval to modern. The word itself may sound like it has sinister undertones, but Craig Hella Johnson, the group's artistic director, said it means, "to breathe together."
"We are so thrilled about our visit to San Antonio," Johnson said. "We are returning to a venue that we really enjoy singing in -- Laurel Heights United Methodist Church -- and we are singing this Friday."
The San Antonio Mastersingers are about to begin a series of performances that have become a San Antonio holiday tradition. They are teaming with the San Antonio Symphony for George Frideric Handel's "The Messiah."