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A MUSICAL FUSION: AFRICA AND THE WEST

Once again, the Michael Teolis Singers has a program planned that is unique, enterprising, and unlike anything you would see anywhere this season in the Chicago area.

“A Musical Fusion: Africa and the West,” will feature compositions written by black composers of the western hemisphere. Included on the program are composers R. Nathanial Dett (Canada), Sydney Guillaume (Haiti), Andrew Marshall (Jamaica), Alfredo Mejia Navarro (Columbia), Electo Silva (Cuba), and Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia (Brazil). Composers from the United States will include Margaret Bonds, William Grant Still, Scott Joplin, Lena McLin, and Adolphus Hailstork, among others.

You won’t want to miss this special event.

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AUDITIONS

In anticipation of openings in the ensemble, auditions for the 2014-2015 season of the Michael Teolis Singers will be held by appointment in the coming weeks.

To schedule an appointment or for more information regarding MTS, please contact us at: auditions@MTSingers.org with “audition” in the subject line or call 773.274.9696

Singers are accepted based on:
- Available openings within sections
- Vocal quality; sight-reading ability; performance proficiency

2014/2015 Season:
In December, MTS will be presenting “A Very British Christmas,” featuring the music of Rutter, Holst, Willcocks, G. Bush, and Elgar, among others. In the spring we will be presenting the work of black composers of the Western World, including the music of Dett, Nuñes-Garcia, Silva, and Ellington.

Concert Dates:
- Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:30 PM
- Saturday, December 13 or 14*
- Saturday, May 2, 2015 at 7:30 PM
- Sunday, May 3, 2015 TBA*
*Tentative dates

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MIKE’S NOTES

January 25, 2015

Planning this concert has been a unique challenge.

At first, I thought of including black composers from all over the world. As it turned out, I had too much material. I found some great music written by some very skilled composers. I figured I had to trim the scope of the program and wound up focusing on the composers only of the western hemisphere. I discovered several talented composers who were native to the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Canada. I also found that most of them were trained in somewhat of a classical tradition – learning to write in traditional forms, learning traditional harmony, and working with traditional western instruments. I thought it would be relatively easy to obtain the music; however, it was not to be.

The staff at the Center for Black Music Research of Columbia College has been most helpful, especially when researching composers, their music, and making contacts outside of the country. The Internet has been my main tool when contacting composers, archives, and other sources to obtain some of the hard-to-get material.

There is a plethora of spirituals and gospel arrangements available. I found that most US Afro-Classical composers such as Margaret Bonds, William Grant Still, and Adolphus Hailstork wrote arrangements of spirituals. Some of the elements of those songs can be heard in their larger, legitimate works.

Besides those wonderful arrangements and tunes, I wanted to find other pieces that might make use of western styles and forms, such as masses, cantatas, operas, or madrigals. This concert will feature some spirituals and a gospel arrangement and possibly some Ellington – who considered himself more than simply a composer of jazz compositions. Imagine a Magnificat set to Jamaican Patois text; or a portion of an opera written in ragtime; or a psalm written by a contemporary pop artist.

It will happen on May 2 in Oak Park.

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Michael Teolis Singers
2518 West Coyle Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60645