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Songs of Innocence and of Experience




Songs of Innocence and of Experience

A Concert of Vocal Works featuring Tenor and Oboe

The Unveiled Voices Project presents a concert of classical vocal music on April 17th at 7:30 pm featuring Henry Pleas III, tenor; Sara Fraker, oboe; Casey Robards, piano & organ; and the Chatham Choral Ensemble, Charles Thomas Hayes, director. Songs of Innocence and of Experience will take place at Hyde Park Union Church on 5600 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago. Tickets for the event are $20, available for online purchase at http://songsofinnocence.eventbrite.com Tickets at the door are $20, $15 (seniors), $10 (student).

Tenor voice or oboe are featured in each of the works on the program. Composer Ralph Vaughan Williams' work Ten Blake Songs for Tenor and Oboe is one of the works to be performed, as well as the Chicago premiere of Glen Roven's Six Ancient Chinese Songs. Roven's settings, sung by sopranos in three prior performances, will be sung for the first time by tenor. Mr. Roven will attend the performance and the post-concert reception. Members of the press interested in interviewing Mr. Roven should contact: Patti Ferguson, 847-262-7981

Glen Roven is a two-time Emmy winning composer, lyricist, conductor and producer. He composed the music to "The Hillary Speeches" setting two of Mrs. Clinton's speeches to music which streamed opposite Trump's inauguration and featured opera stars Patricia Racette, Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn, Lawrence Brownlee, Mathew Polenzani, Kyle Ketelson and some two dozen others. One of his notable compositions is a violin concerto based on the children's book "The Runaway Bunny," which has been recorded twice, once with Brooke Shields as narrator and another narrated by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Another notable composition is "Goodnight Moon, An Aria for Singer and Orchestra" which the National Chorale performed at Geffen Hall in 2016. It was subsequently performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall and the Kimmel Center. Roven's Symphony No. 2 recently premiered at Geffen Hall. He is co-producing The Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joyce DiDonato, Patti LuPone, Diane Reeves, Fiona Apple, Natalie Merchant, Pretty Yende and Lawrence Brownlee. The project's release date is April 20th.

Henry Pleas III has appeared as leading tenor in operatic productions throughout the United States and Europe. He has appeared as soloist for Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Grand Rapids, Skylight Opera Theater, Chicago Opera Theater and South Shore Opera Company of Chicago. Born in Chicago, Illinois, and educated in Chicago area schools, he graduated from Brown University and received his Master of Music degree from Northwestern University.

Sara Fraker is Assistant Professor of Oboe at the University of Arizona and a member of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. She spends her summers in residence as a faculty artist at the Bay View Music Festival. Sara performs regularly as a member of the Arizona Wind Quintet and as principal oboe of True Concord Voices & Orchestra. She has been featured as an English horn soloist in TSO performances of Copland's "Quiet City" and Sibelius' "Swan of Tuonela." Sara has given master classes at universities and performing arts schools throughout the Western US. Summer festivals include Tanglewood, Aspen, Chautauqua, Spoleto Festival USA, Schleswig-Holstein (Germany), and the Shenandoah Bach Festival. She has performed with the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera, Illinois Symphony, Sinfonia da Camera, and Broadway in Tucson. Sara has been selected to present recitals at four recent conferences of the International Double Reed Society, including the 2015 conference in Tokyo, Japan. As a founding member of the Paloma Winds, Sara performed on recital series throughout Arizona, including the St. Andrews Bach Society, Arcosanti, Music From Greer, and the Santa Cruz Foundation. She has also been featured as a chamber soloist at the Dove of Peace chamber music series, and enjoys frequent First Sunday performances at St. Philip's in the Hills. Sara holds degrees from the University of Illinois (DMA), New England Conservatory (MM), and Swarthmore College (BA). Her principal teachers include Robert Botti, John Dee, Mark McEwen, Sandra Gerster Lisicki, and John de Lancie.

A committed coach and pedagogue, Casey Robards is currently a Lecturer in Collaborative Piano at Central Michigan University and faculty pianist, vocal coach, and conductor at the Bay View Music Festival. She has been on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Collaborative Piano and Voice) and numerous festivals including Young Musicians Inc. (Evanston, WY); Weathersfield Music Festival, (Castleton, VT); Plymouth Music Festival, (Plymouth, MA); and StudiO Vocal Arts Institute, (Monticello, IL). Other pianist and coach work includes posts at Indianapolis Opera, the Indiana University Opera and Ballet Theater, and the Oberlin Conservatory. Casey was recently the associate music director and conductor of the world premiere of "BOUNCE: the Basketball Opera" produced by Ardea Arts and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. Casey completed the D.M.A. in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her awards include the Nancy Wustman Memorial Accompanying Award and the Henri Kohn Memorial Award (Tanglewood Music Festival). She attended the 2015 Songfest Professional Development Program.

The Chatam Choral Ensemble was founded in 1991 by director, Charles T. Hayes. The ensemble is a select group of classical vocal artists, including music educators and professional level classical singers. The 25-member ensemble performs a wide variety of musical styles, including sacred and secular music from the Renaissance through the 21st century. In 2016 the Chatham Choral Ensemble became the Artist in Residence of University Church in Hyde Park. The ensemble has made a European tour of Austria, Germany and Switzerland including concert performances at the Mozarteum and Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna. Charles T. Hayes holds music degrees from Cornell College of Iowa and the University of Iowa, and has done additional graduate work at Roosevelt University and The Catholic University of America.

Images available upon request.

Ich will bei meinem Jesu wachen 
J. S. Bach (Arie from the St. Matthew Passion for tenor, choir, oboe and organ)

The Lord is My Shepherd
John Rutter (sacred choral work with oboe obbligato)

Ten Blake Songs
Ralph Vaughan Williams (tenor and oboe)

Six Ancient Chinese Songs 
Glen Roven (tenor, oboe and piano)

Randall Thompson (choir)

Let us Break Bread Together 
Gwyneth Walker (oboe, tenor, choir and piano)