A Cappella at Festival of the Aegean

A Cappella at Festival of the Aegean

The Unaccompanied Performances have become a Tradition at the Festival of the Aegean

A cappella, which means in Italian “in the manner of the chapel,” is a musical form originally associated with religious polyphony. Early composers such as Palestrina and Monteverdi embraced a cappella music before instrumental accompaniment to sacred works became widespread.

The phrase itself – a cappella – has come to mean vocal singing without instrumental accompaniment. Its original reference to sacred music has broadened over the years to include any type of unaccompanied vocal music such as Barbershop harmonies, Do Wop, and the like. Sometimes musical instruments have been added to the a cappella mix although, strictly speaking, the instruments are intended to substitute for or double up vocal sections.

In 2010 MidAmerica Productions expanded the Festival of the Aegean to include a concert of a cappella sacred vocal music each season at the beautiful St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. In addition to many performance opportunities in opera, oratorios, and other programs during the Festival of the Aegean, many choruses have chosen to add an a cappella solo vocal performance at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church to their schedules.

The first “Sunset Concert” of sacred a cappella music took place at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in July 2010 and included a performance by the Vocal Ensemble of Mira Costa High School, Manhattan Beach, CA (Michael Hayden, Conductor).

Four groups from the U.S. sang in the 2011 Sunset Concert, including Kairos Youth Choir, Berkeley, CA (Laura Kakis Serper, Conductor); the Contra Costa Children’s Choir, Walnut Creek, CA (Iris Lamanna, Conductor); The Tulsa Oratorio Chorus, OK (Tim Sharp, Conductor); and the Singing Girls of Texas from Fort Worth (Mark Stamper, Conductor).

The Yellow Rose Singers, San Antonio, TX (Gary Mabry, Conductor) performed at the Sunset Concert in 2012, while three American ensembles performed in 2013: Southwestern College Concert Choir, Chula Vista, CA (Terry Russell, Conductor); Salem College Choir, Winston-Salem, NC (Sonja Sepúlveda, Conductor); and Randolph College Chorale, Lynchburg, VA (Randall Speer, Conductor).

Last year, the Sunset Concert showcased performances by Heart of the Valley Children’s Choir, Corvallis, OR (Carol Nelson, Conductor) and Highlands Youth Ensemble, Bristol, TN (Jane DeLoach Morrison, Conductor). On Friday, July 17, 2015, several ensembles from the U.S. will debut at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church: Lincoln Choral Artists, Nebraska Wesleyan University Choir, St. Paul United Methodist Church Chancel Choir, Lincoln, NE (William Wyman, Conductor); Western Nebraska Community College Collegiate Chorale, Scottsbluff, NE (Rita Stinner, Conductor); Central Community College Spectrum, Columbus, NE (Jeffrey Kitson, Conductor); and Children’s Chorus of Sussex County, NJ (Deborah Mello, Conductor).

If you and your ensemble would like to perform next year on the beautiful Island of Syros, Greece; or in Carnegie Hall; Vienna, Austria; Florence, Italy; or Beijing, China, let us hear from you! You can like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/midamerica.productions; follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MAPmusicNYC; visit our blog at www.midamerica-music.com/blog; visit our website at www.midamerica-music.com/home; email dzeidman@midamerica-music.com; or call 212-239-0205 x 204.

We thank all of you for your support and your participation.

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