The Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee will kick of its 2010-2011 season with its first concert on Sunday, Oct. 10. This year, the 80th anniversary season of the Bel Canto Chorus coincides with the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the American Civil War.
Richard Hynson, music director, has planned this season around music reminiscent of the Civil War era and with the exception of the chorus’ Christmas Concert at the Basilica of St. Josephat, all concerts will feature bluegrass, spirtuals and commemorative compositions in honor of America’s Civil War Sesquicentennial, he said.
“The chorus is really designed to reflect the community and what’s happening in the community,” Hynson said. “Even throughout my tenure the chorus has changed dramatically to reflect the community around it. Chorus is the best vehicle to express the voice of the community and I think that’s what we’re doing this year.”
According to Hynson, the music featured by the chorus this season is directly related to feelings and emotions that are still reminiscent of the civil war time period.
“The Civil War was a very horrific part of our history,” Hynson said. “Brothers were fighting against brothers and thousands of Americans lost their lives. A lot of the issues addressed and questions raised in regards to civil rights still remain today. It’s eerily relevant.”
The concert series will feature bluegrass folk songs, work songs and spirituals evocative of the period, Hynson said. It will also feature some world premiere pieces that, according to Hysnon, “are so new they don’t even have at title yet.”
The Chorus has partnered with the Kenosha Civil War museum to provide exhibits, displays and actor reenactments of famous civil war characters.
“We wanted to add an even greater educational aspect to this year’s concerts,” said Marla Hahn, managing director of the Bel Canto Choir, “so we partnered with the museum so people can take in the exhibits and displays prior to the concert and learn a little more about the time period before enjoying the music sung by the chorus.”
On Sunday, the Bel Canto Chorus will be joined by the Bel Canto Boys Choir and local blue grass band, Above the Town. The concert will take place at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 790 North Van Buren St., at 3 p.m. For tickets or for more information on future concert dates visit www.belcanto.org or click on the video below to hear more from Hynson.