Chorale concert will feature scholarship winners
CHAMPAIGN — Several young artists who have received scholarships from The Chorale will perform at the community choir's spring concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Faith United Methodist Church, 1719 S. Prospect Ave., C.
This year marks the 22nd for the Chorale awarding scholarships to senior high school students who plan to pursue music in college.
The 2014 top award winner, who will receive a $1,000 scholarship, is Kathryn Craft, a vocalist, of Sadorus, daughter of Kevin and Cherie Craft and a senior at Unity High School.
Partial scholarships will be awarded to Blake Miller, also a singer, a senior at Arthur High School and son of Ed and Ruth Miller; and to Adam Owens, who plays alto saxophone, a senior at Bismarck-Henning High School and the son of Paul and Debbie Owens.
"We have presented 50 awards since the beginning of this program in 1992 and it's one of the best things we do as a group," said Chorale director and founder Julie Beyler. "I'm especially proud of this part of our mission. We find amazing talent presents itself in quest of this scholarship. This year, we were pleasantly surprised to have applicants from several surrounding small towns and are hoping this continues in the future. We know that there is talent all around us, and we want to encourage it."
The Chorale auditions and interviews the scholarship applicants.
"We're always impressed with their poise and maturity," Beyler said. "Each of them looks forward to developing as a musician and to touching and inspiring future audiences. In many cases, they also look forward to teaching students of their own."
Also performing at the spring concert will be Caitlin Richardson, a 2013 Chorale scholarship winner. The soprano is completing her freshman year at the University of Illinois, where she has a double major in vocal performance and choral music education.
During her freshman year, she performed in two operas, in several Opera Studio productions and in the UI Chorale.
"Caitlin's voice has warmth and depth beyond her age. It's a real joy to hear," Beyler said.
Now in its 32nd year, The Chorale will feature not only soloists at its spring concert but also small group harmony in the context of the larger works.
Among those will be Eleanor Daley's "Requiem." Daley, a Canadian composer of choral and church music, has received many awards. Soprano Brenda Rucker, a former Chorale member now living in Savannah, Ga., will return to the area as the guest soloist for this selection.
Among individual pieces to be featured are "Blessed is the Man" from Sergei Rachmaninoff's "All Night Vigil," Opus 37, composed in 1915 — it will be sung in Russian; "Hear My Prayer" by Felix Mendelssohn, derived from Psalm 55, to be sung by Chorale member Kate Stout, a soprano; and Joseph Haydn's "The Heavens are Telling" from his oratorio "The Creation."
The Chorale is a volunteer, nonauditioned community chorus with members from 12 communities throughout East Central Illinois. It presents at least three major concerts each year and has made several tours in Europe and has sung several times with the American Festival Chorus in Logan, Utah, under the direction of Craig Jessop, the former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Jessop invited the Chorale to join 12 other choruses from throughout the U.S. for a weekend this summer that will include an afternoon Memorial Day concert on May 25 in the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.
The Young Artist concert on Saturday night is free. Donations to the group's scholarship fund will be received.