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updated: 2/12/2018 12:29 PM

Chicago a cappella to offer 'Love Stories' at four concerts

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  • Chicago a cappella presents a concert program called "Love Stories."

    Chicago a cappella presents a concert program called "Love Stories."
    Courtesy of Chicago a cappella

  • Chicago a cappella performs "Love Stories," a Valentine's concert, Saturday, Feb. 17, in Naperville.

    Chicago a cappella performs "Love Stories," a Valentine's concert, Saturday, Feb. 17, in Naperville.
    Courtesy of Chicago a cappella

 
Submitted by Natalia Dagenhart

In a Valentine's concert, Chicago a cappella will take listeners on a journey through the history of a couple's love with music and lyrics that reflect the emotions of a lifelong relationship.

The vocal ensemble performs "Love Stories" at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago Ave., Naperville.

The program will feature Porchlight Music Theatre's artistic director Michael Weber and Jeff-nominated Chicago actress Karen Janes Woditsch, who is known for appearing in more than 20 productions at Writers Theatre and for her charm and talent.

Weber directed multiple Jeff-nominated productions for Best Production-Musical and serves as a pledge host on WTTW-TV Channel 11.

Together, Woditsch and Weber will narrate "Love Stories," guiding the audience through a script by Jeff Award-winning playwright Tom Mula, who came up with the idea to cast the actors as a later-life couple looking back on many phases of their relationship.

"This program is a journey into the human heart seen through two lenses: first, the choral music that the ensemble sings, and second, the relationship of the two actors, whose script has them looking back on their relationship over many years," said Jonathan Miller, founder and artistic director at Chicago a cappella.

"The script expresses and gives context to the emotions in the music that Chicago a cappella performs. From breathless anticipation to regret, from openhearted declarations to more indirect statements, from hot to cool and temperatures in between, we've got a wide range of ways to speak the language of love in music."

The song selections challenge the 10 singers in Chicago a cappella to demonstrate the range of emotions a married couple goes through during their lifetime, members said.

The "Love Stories" concert is prepared by principal music director John William Trotter, who gained the title in 2015. He is also an associate professor at the Wheaton College Conservatory of Music.

"Thanks to principal music director John William Trotter for his masterful shepherding of the rehearsal process, and to our intrepid, curious, tremendously talented singers, who leave it all on the stage every time and who continue to astound us all with their flexibility, musicality and good cheer," Miller wrote in the program notes.

"This great team work has one and only purpose -- to make the audience members happy and to present to them an unforgettable musical valentine. Besides that, the warm and intimate relationship of a longtime married couple that is reflected in this concert program might be a great example of how to build a successful, yet challenging relationship."

Chicago a cappella will aim to show the shades and colors of the musical love palette by combining the music of 16th century master Claudio Monteverdi, Broadway favorites Rodgers and Hammerstein, and modern composers Morten Lauridsen, Stacy Garrop of Evanston, and the ensemble's own Miller.

One piece, Monteverdi's steamy madrigal "Volgea l'anima mia soavemente," is new to Chicago a cappella. Other selections are works that have appeared on Chicago a cappella programs throughout the years and were chosen as being particularly well-suited for this concert.

Lyrics drawn from works by Shakespeare, Rilke and Edna St. Vincent Millay will help the singers reflect the love story of the older couple, and their vibrant emotions will be demonstrated through theater and music.

Tickets purchased in advance are $43 for preferred seating, $35 for general seating, $30 for seniors, and $15 for students. Group rates are available. Tickets at the door are $2 more.

For tickets and information, visit chicagoacappella.org or call (773) 281-7820.

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