Artistic Excellence and Records Broken
Congressional Chorus had a fantastic 25th anniversary season with 95 singers participating throughout the year. The opening concert “AMERICAN TAPESTRY: Our Story in Song” took the audience on a journey of over 200 years of American history through texts by American historic figures and poets put to music. The concert featured One Land, an updated and expanded orchestral version of the 20th anniversary commission by Rand Snell.
American Youth Chorus grew to 70 students in its fourth season. In the fall concert “AMERICAN VOICES / GLOBAL SONGS,” students sang in English, French, and Chinese. The audience was swingin’ in the “JAZZ: Made in America” spring concert, which included songs by Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Dizzy Gillespie, and Dave Brubeck.
Congressional Chorus sold out the four March 2012 performances of “SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL: A 1950s American Cabaret” almost a month in advance, even after adding another performance to this year’s schedule.
Congressional Chorus & American Youth Chorus ended the season with “SINGING AMERICA’S SONGS: A Silver Anniversary Concert” in June 2012. This concert at National City Christian Church included Broadway, gospel, jazz, folksongs, and contemporary works. It featured the world premieres of two pieces Congressional Chorus commissioned: Be It Therefore Resolved by nationally renowned composer Joan Szymko and Dreams by 20-year-old Chris Urquiaga, who also shared his talents as one of the pianists for the concert and received a standing ovation for his piece. Congressional Chorus alumni joined both choruses for Why We Sing.
Singing Around Town: From H Street to the White House
In addition to the regular season concerts, members of Congressional Chorus & American Youth Chorus performed at free events in the community as well as private engagements.
In December, Congressional Chorus & American Youth Chorus joined Capital City Symphony for the popular annual free holiday sing-along concerts at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.
Members of Congressional Chorus sang at the Senate Thanksgiving Lunch, the American Institute of Architects conference reception at the Newseum, and at Sidney Harman Hall for "Happenings at the Harman."
Members of American Youth Chorus sang at the Library of Congress, the H Street Festival, and the March of Dimes national kick-off event at the Ronald Reagan Building. The senior division sang for over an hour at a holiday reception at the White House, where First Lady Michelle Obama spoke with the young people and shook hands with everybody.
In the News
There was a lot of buzz about Congressional Chorus & American Youth Chorus in the media this spring:
- This February 2012 article in the Hill Rag describes the “infectious camaraderie” of Congressional Chorus and gives a glimpse into a rehearsal for the cabarets. Two singers who helped found the chorus reflect on the early years of the chorus.
- This March 2012 article in the Hill Rag profiles American Youth Chorus, preparations for AYC's jazz concert, and the difference the chorus makes in the young people's lives.
- This May 30, 2012 article in Roll Call features Congressional Chorus’ origins on Capitol Hill, how the chorus has grown in 25 years, and enthusiasm from current Hill singers working on both sides of the aisle who are united by their love of singing.
- Artistic Director David Simmons and 10-year-old AYC singer Maya McGuire were interviewed by NBC4's Barbara Harrison on May 31, 2012. Watch this video and hear Maya sing part of her solo from the piece written by Chris Urquiaga for the June 2nd concert:
Looking to Next Season
Congressional Chorus looks forward to kicking off its 26th season with a world premiere of a work the chorus commissioned from Connaitre Miller, Howard University's Vocal Jazz Coordinator and Director of Howard's award-winning vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue.
American Youth Chorus will launch its fifth season with even more singers at the Atlas and add a junior division at Sitar Arts Center in Adams Morgan.
Want to be a part of our next season? Read this about July and August auditions for Congressional Chorus. Students ages 8 to 14 can audition for American Youth Chorus in August.