Choral Iowa

Welcome to IPR's Choral Iowa!  This page will make it easy for you to keep up with our state’s flourishing choral scene. You'll find event calendars, music videos, and ideas from the many Iowans who make our choral scene happen. Please let us know of events or ideas you’d like to share! After all, choral music is the most inclusive of genres. America has about 1,200 orchestras but 270,000 choirs. One household out of five includes a choral member, ranging from children to retirees. Their conductors are just as likely to be maestras as maestros, and their audiences love new works as much as classics. Our state is a national presence in choral music, and Choral Iowa will help you find out why.

 

Haley Gibbons

The high school choral scene in Iowa is thriving, Haley Gibbons told me. And she is a perfect example of why it's hopping. One of two choral directors at West Des Moines Valley High, Gibbons leads no fewer than four choral groups there. She came in to tell me about an event tomorrow (Friday, January 25th) for high-school jazz choirs from around the state, the annual  “Valley Vocal Jazz Summit." Twenty-three jazz choirs will "clinic" throughout the day with the renowned ensemble New York Voices.

St. Olaf College

A Long Island teenager had a ticket to a Moody Blues concert, but his mother insisted he go instead to hear a college choir visiting from Minnesota. Eighteen years later, that young man, Anton Armstrong, became the conductor of that ensemble, the St. Olaf Choir - and as you can imagine, the details make quite a story. You can hear it from Dr. Armstrong himself in the clip below.

Wartburg Marketing and Communications

A Choral Iowa post: Supermarkets began piping in holiday tunes in November, so you've probably heard all the standards just in the course of buying groceries. But below is a gem for which you need a choral group. Called Estampie Natalis, it reflects two of the enthusiasms of its Czech-born composer, Vaclav Nelhybel.

Heartland Youth Choir, http://joinhyc.org/

It's the perfect month for a choral concert, and Iowa's artists have been hard at work preparing. From university concerts to madrigal dinners to Handel in Clinton and Cedar Rapids and an Iowa premiere in Grinnell, here's what I hope will become a complete list.  I'm sure I've missed things, so please let me know of omissions or corrections (at choraliowa@iowapublicradio.org). The goal is to include everyone!

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Elaine Hagenberg

When Des Moines resident Elaine Hagenberg graduated from Drake in 2002, her degree was in music education. How did she go on to become an internationally admired choral composer, with works published by Oxford University Press and performances in London, Melbourne, and New York? She talks about it briefly in this interview with IPR's Jacqueline Halbloom.

John Rommereim

In a dusty box in the archives of Grinnell College, John Rommereim found a long-missing manuscript.  It was the only copy of a massive score by Edward Scheve, the composer who "made Grinnell musical."  Scheve conducted it in a 1910 performance with the Berlin Philharmonic, but all that survived was a piano reduction - or so things appeared until Rommereim opened that box.  Below, he explains how his discovery set in motion an enthusiastic response thousands of miles away.  He also discusses Scheve's rel

Jill Wilson

Jill Wilson of Luther College is President of the Iowa Choral Directors Association.

I am thrilled to help welcome you to the Choral Iowa topic page!  My gratitude goes to Barney Sherman and the rest of the team for creating a way to share the work of amazing choirs all over the state.