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NEW CLASSIC SINGERS Lee R. Kesselman, Music Director William Buhr, Accompanist  

29th Concert Season  

2010-2011   Aaron & Lenny Saturday, Nov. 6, 8 pm at St. Petronille Church, Glen Ellyn Sunday, Nov. 7, 3 pm at Plainfield United Methodist Church, Plainfield   In the Sweet Mid-Winter Friday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m., Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, Arlington Heights Sunday, Dec. 12, 4 p.m., McAninch Arts Center, Glen Ellyn   The little match girl passion Saturday, March 5, 8 p.m. at Glen Ellyn Evangelical Covenant Church, Glen Ellyn Sunday, March 6, 3 p.m.  at St. Peter’s Church in the Loop, Chicago   Boys and Girls Saturday, May 7, 8 pm McAninch Arts Center, Glen Ellyn   New Classic Singers 425 Bonnie Brae Rd. Hinsdale, IL 60521 www.newclassicsingers.org 630.654.9717   Ticket office for McAninch Arts Center concerts: (630) 942-4000 www.AtTheMac.org   New Classic Singers celebrates its 29th season in residence at College of DuPage. Members include conductors, educators, and soloists from throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. The Singers have been praised for their imaginative programs and performing excellence. New Classic Singers has performed three times for conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and frequently commissions and performs new works.  NCS has performed with the Kronos Quartet and Nexus Percussion Ensemble and has recorded new issues for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers. New Classic Singers 1


M U S I C D I R E C TO R B I O G R A P H Y Founder and Music Director Lee R. Kesselman has been Director of Choral Activities at College of DuPage since 1981. Conductor, pianist, teacher and award-winning composer, in New Classic Singers he has created an ensemble from his love for the vocal art and interest in a wide variety of literature. A member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and recipient of 17 consecutive ASCAP awards. Mr. Kesselman’s compositions have been published by Boosey & Hawkes, Roger Dean Music Co., Colla Voce and Kesselman Press. He co-founded the Choral Music Experience Institute for Choral Teacher Education with Doreen Rao and has served on its faculty since 1986. He is in frequent demand as a guest conductor, lecturer and clinician and as a composer-in-residence throughout the United States and abroad.   Kesselman is well-known as a composer of vocal works, including opera, music for chorus, and solo songs.  Large works include the operas THE BREMEN TOWN MUSICIANS  and THE EMPEROR›S NEW CLOTHES, LOVE PHASES for baritone voice and piano, NIGHTS IN ARMOR for mixed chorus, SHONA MASS for voices and African percussion, and INFINITY IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND, a symphony  for treble chorus and orchestra. His works for children›s choirs have brought him national attention and he has been commissioned to write for children›s choirs, middle school, junior school, high school, college, community, church, and professional ensembles.

AC C O M PA N I S T B I O G R A P H Y Enjoying a national reputation as an accompanist, chamber musician, adjudicator and clinician, William Buhr’s work as a collaborative pianist has taken him to performing engagements in over thirty countries on six continents. Buhr has served on the accompanying staff of the Chicago Symphony Chorus at the invitation of founder/director Margaret Hillis, and has accompanied James Levine, Michael Tilson Thomas, Yo-Yo Ma, June Anderson, Berndt Weikl and others at the Ravinia Festival. He has also worked with Stephen Sondheim, Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald and Michael Cerveris in the Ravinia Festival productions of Sunday In The Park With George and Anyone Can Whistle.   Holding degrees from the University of Illinois and DePaul University, Mr. Buhr has appeared in many international festivals as well as numerous national and regional conventions of major musical and educational organizations. Mr. Buhr has served on the faculty of the Choral Music Experience Institute for Choral Teacher Education with Doreen Rao since its inception in 1986, and has played for the national touring companies of numerous Broadway musicals including Showboat, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and The Phantom of the Opera. He has served as the Associate Director and accompanist of the New Classic Singers since 1986, and has enjoyed an association with Anima - Young Singers of Greater Chicago (formerly the Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus) since 1984.

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F R O M T H E M U S I C D I R E C TO R Welcome to our 29th season!   From our start in 1982, there are works that just seem to be custom-made for our ensemble and our concert programs.  David Lang’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning the little match girl passion  is one such work. From my first hearing of the piece, I knew that NCS had to sing it. The confluence of Hans Christian Andersen’s moving tale, timeless story of the Christian Passion is brought to a new place of contemporary style in Lang’s repetitive, lean and haunting music. Choral music seldom wins major prizes  -- but this work is effective, beautifully-crafted and moving.  The story comes to us in fragments, but the structures of the 15 movements remind us of the powerful opening and closing choruses, the chorales, and the narrative sections of J. S. Bach’s monumental Passions. A challenging work for the chorus, we hope you will be touched and haunted by this modern classic.   What to pair with the Lang? Lang’s music shares some essential stylistic elements with some of the contemporary sacred music of Eastern Europe, especially that of  Estonian Arvo Pärt. Sparse textures, repetitions, and minimalist leanings connect these musics. The same is true of Uramas Sisask’s beautiful Oremus.  I was also anxious to surround Lang’s music with specifically sacred music. So the remainder of the concert is filled with other great sacred music from Eastern Europe, but more melodic, lyrical music from Russia and Lithuania. We’ve tried to place the Lang in the center of a lush, rich set of sacred pieces, a different kind of beauty, and one that should enhance the unique qualities of the little match girl passion.  The chorus and I have loved this concert - - -we hope you do too.   Thanks for being a part of our audience. We sing for you.   Sincerely,   Lee R. Kesselman Founder and Music Director New Classic Singers

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PROGR A M NEW CLASSIC SINGERS Lee R. Kesselman, Music Director William Buhr, Accompanist   the little match girl passion Saturday, March 5, 8 p.m. at Glen Ellyn Evangelical Covenant Church, Glen Ellyn Sunday, March 6, 3 p.m.  at St. Peter’s Church in the Loop, Chicago     PROGRAM   (The audience is requested to kindly hold applause until each section break.)     I Kyrie (from Missa Brevis in G) (1988) Vytautas Miškinis  (b. 1954)   “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”   Magnificat (in Latin) (1989)

Arvo Pärt (b. 1935)

“My soul doth magnify the Lord: and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For he hath regarded: the lowliness of his handmaiden. For behold, from henceforth: all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath magnified me: and holy is his Name. And his mercy is on them that fear him: throughout all generations. He hath shewed strength with his arm: he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the might from their seat: and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away. He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel: as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, forever. My soul doth magnify the Lord.”   Hvalite Ghospoda s nebes Pavel Chesnokov (from Liturgy of St. John Chrysostum, Op. 42) (1877-1944) “Praise the Lord from the heavens, Praise Him in the highest. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. -- Psalm 148  II The Little Match Girl   the little match girl passion (2007) 4 New Classic Singers

Hans Christian Andersen  (1805-1875) David Lang (b. 1957)


P R O G R A M ( c o n t .) Text by David Lang, after Hans Christian Andersen, H.P. Paull, Picander and the Gospel according to St. Matthew   1. Come, daughter Come, daughter Help me, daughter Help me cry Look, daughter Where, daughter What, daughter Who, daughter Why, daughter Guiltless daughter Patient daughter Gone   2. It was terribly cold It was terribly cold and nearly dark on the last evening of the old year, and the snow was falling fast. In the cold and darkness, a poor little girl, with bare head and naked feet, roamed through the streets. It is true she had on a pair of slippers when she left home, but they were not of much use. They were very large, so large, indeed, that they had belonged to her mother, and the poor little creature had lost them in running across the street to avoid two carriages that were rolling along at a terrible rate. One of the slippers she could not find, and a boy seized upon the other and ran away with it, saying that he could use it as a cradle, when he had children of his own. So the little girl went on with her little naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold.   3. Dearest heart Dearest heart Dearest heart What did you do that was so wrong? What was so wrong? Dearest heart Dearest heart Why is your sentence so hard?   4. In an old apron In an old apron she carried a number of matches, and had a bundle of them in her hands. No one had bought anything of her the whole day, nor had any one given her even a penny. Shivering with cold and hunger, she crept along; poor little child, she looked the picture of misery. The snowflakes fell on her long, fair hair, which hung in curls on her shoulders, but she regarded them not.   5. Penance and remorse Penance and remorse Tear my sinful heart in two My teardrops May they fall like rain down upon your poor face May they fall down like rain My teardrops Here, daughter, here I am I should be bound as you were bound All that I deserve is What you have endured Penance and remorse Tear my sinful heart in two My penance My remorse My penance   6. Lights were shining Lights were shining from every window, and there was a savory smell of roast goose, for it was New- year’s eve – yes, she remembered that. In a corner, between two houses, one of which projected beyond the other, she sank down and huddled herself together. She had drawn her little feet under her, but she could not keep off the cold; and she dared not go home, for she had sold no matches, and could not take home even a penny of money. Her father would certainly beat her; besides, it was almost as cold at home as here, for they had only the roof to cover them, through which the wind howled, although the largest holes had been stopped up with straw and rags. Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold. Her little hands were almost frozen with the cold.   New Classic Singers 5


P R O G R A M ( c o n t .) 7. Patience, patience! Patience. Patience! 8. Ah! perhaps Ah! perhaps a burning match might be some good, if she could draw it from the bundle and strike it against the wall, just to warm her fingers. She drew one out — “scratch!” how it sputtered as it burnt! It gave a warm, bright light, like a little candle, as she held her hand over it. It was really a wonderful light. It seemed to the little girl that she was sitting by a large iron stove, with polished brass feet and a brass ornament. How the fire burned! and seemed so beautifully warm that the child stretched out her feet as if to warm them, when, lo! the flame of the match went out, the stove vanished, and she had only the remains of the half-burnt match in her hand. She rubbed another match on the wall. It burst into flame, and where its light fell upon the wall it became as transparent as a veil, and she could see into the room. The table was covered with a snowy white table-cloth, on which stood a splendid dinner service, and a steaming roast goose, stuffed with apples and dried plums. And what was still more wonderful, the goose jumped down from the dish and waddled across the floor, with a knife and fork in its breast, to the little girl. Then the match went out, and there remained nothing but the thick, damp, cold wall before her.   9. Have mercy, my God Have mercy, my God. Look here, my God. See my tears fall. See my tears fall. Have mercy, my God. Have mercy. My eyes are crying. My heart is crying, my God. See my tears fall. See my tears fall, my God.   10. She lighted another match She lighted another match, and then she found herself sitting under a beautiful Christmas-tree. It was larger and more beautifully decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door at the rich merchant’s. Thousands of tapers were burning upon the green branches, and colored pictures, like those she had seen in the show-windows, looked down upon it all. The little one stretched out her hand towards them, and the match went out. The Christmas lights rose higher and higher, till they looked to her like the stars in the sky. Then she saw a star fall, leaving behind it a bright streak of fire. “Some one dying,” though the little girl, for her old grandmother, the only one who had ever loved her, and who was now dead, had told her that when a star falls, a soul was going up to God.   11. From the sixth hour In the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour she cried out: Eli, eli.   12. She again rubbed a match She again rubbed a match on the wall, and the light shone round her; in the brightness stood her old grandmother, clear and shining, yet mild and loving in her appearance. “Grandmother,” cried the little one, “O take me with you; I know you will go away when the match burns out; you will vanish like the warm stove, the roast goose, and the large, glorious Christmas-tree.” And she made haste to light the whole bundle of matches, for she wished to keep her grandmother there. 6 New Classic Singers


P R O G R A M ( c o n t .) And the matches glowed with a light that was brighter than the noon-day, and her grandmother had never appeared so large or so beautiful. She took the little girl in her arms, and they both flew upwards in brightness and joy far above the earth, where there was neither cold nor hunger nor pain, for they were with God.   13. When it is time for me to go When it is time for me to go Don’t go from me When it is time for me to leave Don’t leave me When it is time for me to die Stay with me When I am most scared Stay with me  14. In the dawn of morning In the dawn of morning there lay the poor little one, with pale cheeks and smiling mouth, leaning against the wall; she had been frozen to death on the last evening of the year; and the New-year’s sun rose and shone upon a little corpse! The child still sat, in the stiffness of death, holding the matches in her hand, one bundle of which was burnt. “She tried to warm herself,” said some. No one imagined what beautiful things she had seen, nor into what glory she had entered with her grandmother, on New-year’s day.   15. We sit and cry We sit and cry And call to you Rest soft, daughter, rest soft Where is your grave, daughter? Where is your tomb? Where is your resting place? Rest soft, daughter, rest soft Rest soft Rest soft Rest soft Rest soft You closed your eyes. I closed my eyes. Rest soft III   Svete tihiy Pavel Chesnokov (1877-1944)   “O Gladsome Light of the Holy Glory of the Immortal Father, Heavenly, Holy, Blessed Jesus Christ! Now that we have come to the setting of the sun and behold the light of evening, we praise God Father, Son and Holy Spirit. For meet it is at all times to worship Thee with voices of praise. O Son of God and Giver of Life, therefore all the world doth glorify Thee.”   Oremus (from Gloria Patri) Urmas Sisask (b. 1960)   Bogoróditse Djévo (1990) Arvo Pärt (b. 1935)   “Rejoice, O virgin Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast borne the Saviour of our souls.”     Bogoróditse Djévo (from All-Night Vigil,  Op. 37) Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) New Classic Singers 7


PROGR A M NOTES Vytautas Miškinis is a Lithuanian music composer and professor, who has been Choir Director of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre conservatory since 1985. To date he has composed and recorded over 500 pieces, both religious and secular.   Estonian Arvo Pärt is a leading composer of sacred music. Inspired and influenced by Gregorian chant and medieval music, Pärt is considered a proponent of a style called ‘mystic or holy minimalism’, joined by composers Gorecki and Tavener. His music is characterized by a deceptive simplicity, slow moving blocks of simple harmony and hovering forms. Composer Steve Reich has written, “His music fulfills a deep human need that has nothing to do with fashion.”   Pavel Grigorievich Chesnokov was a Russian composer, choral conductor and teacher. He composed over five hundred choral works, over four hundred of which are sacred. Today, he is most known for his piece Salvation is Created as well as works such as Do Not Reject Me in Old Age (solo for basso profondo). His anthem O Lord God has served as the signature benedictory of The Nordic Choir of Luther College, Decorah, Iowa since 1948   II  Composer Note from David Lang: I wanted to tell a story. A particular story — in fact, the story of The Little Match Girl by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The original is ostensibly for children, and it has that shocking combination of danger and morality that many famous children’s stories do. A poor young girl, whose father beats her, tries unsuccessfully to sell matches on the street, is ignored, and freezes to death. Through it all she somehow retains her Christian purity of spirit, but it is not a pretty story. What drew me to The Little Match Girl is that the strength of the story lies not in its plot but in the fact that all its parts — the horror and the beauty — are constantly suffused with their opposites. The girl’s bitter present is locked together with the sweetness of her past memories; her poverty is always suffused with her hopefulness. There is a kind of naive equilibrium between suffering and hope. There are many ways to tell this story. One could convincingly tell it as a story about faith or as an allegory about poverty. What has always interested me, however, is that Andersen tells this story as a kind of parable, drawing a religious and moral equivalency between the suffering of the poor girl and the suffering of Jesus. The girl suffers, is scorned by the crowd, dies, and is transfigured. I started wondering what secrets could be unlocked from this story if one took its Christian nature to its conclusion and unfolded it, as Christian composers have traditionally done in musical settings of the Passion of Jesus. The most interesting thing about how the Passion story is told is that it can include texts other than the story itself. These texts are the reactions of the crowd, penitential thoughts, statements of general sorrow, shock, or remorse. These are devotional guideposts, the markers for our own responses to the story, and they have the effect of making the audience more than spectators to the sorrowful events onstage. These responses can have a huge range — in 8 New Classic Singers


P R O G R A M N O T E S ( c o n t .) Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, these extra texts range from famous chorales that hiscongregation was expected to sing along with to completely invented characters, such as the “Daughter of Zion” and the “Chorus of Believers.” The Passion format — the telling of a story while simultaneously commenting upon it — has the effect of placing us in the middle of the action, and it gives the narrative a powerful inevitability. My piece is called The Little Match Girl Passion and it sets Hans Christian Andersen’s story The Little Match Girl in the format of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion, interspersing Andersen’s narrative with my versions of the crowd and character responses from Bach’s Passion. The text is by me, after texts by Han Christian Andersen, H. P. Paulli (the first translator of the story into English, in 1872), Picander (the nom de plume of Christian Friedrich Henrici, the librettist of Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion), and the Gospel according to Saint Matthew. The word “passion” comes from the Latin word for suffering. There is no Bach in my piece and there is no Jesus — rather the suffering of the Little Match Girl has been substituted for Jesus’s, elevating (I hope) her sorrow to a higher plane. — David Lang

III Urmas Sisask is an Estonian composer.  One of the major inspirations for his music is astronomy. Based on the trajectories of the planets in the solar system, he created the “planetal scale”, a mode consisting of the Musical notes C#, D, F#, G#, and A. Later, he discovered to his surprise that this was exactly the same as the Japanese Kumayoshi mode, which is also known as the Japanese pentatonic scale. While Oremus is sung without words, it is taken from a collection called Gloria Patri: 24 Hymns for Mixed Choir, so one assumes that the����������������������������   intent�������������������� of this work is sacred.   Bogoróditse Djévo Pärt’s emotionally-charged Bogoróditse Djévo, is a vibrant, rhythmic tribute to the Virgin Mary. Rachmaninoff’s, on the other hand, is a lush, Romantic melodic approach to the same text.

First United Methodist Church Chancel Choir Presents Fauré

Requiem March 20, 2011 ~ 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Worship Services 1032 Maple Avenue ~ Dowers Grove, IL 630-968-7120 ~ www.dgfumc.org New Classic Singers 9


N C S 2 010 - 2 011 Lee R. Kesselman, Director    Bill Buhr, Accompanist     Soprano Elise Calhoon.....................................................................................................................Naperville Mona Jethmalani...............................................................................................Glendale Heights Leah Kamm..............................................................................................................................Batavia Beth Majerszky...............................................................................................................New Lenox Lauren Moore-Dowd..........................................................................................................Chicago Madeline Morris.................................................................................................................Deerfield Kirsten O’Donnell...................................................................................................................Aurora Karen Owen.....................................................................................................................Warrenville Gabriela Sevilla.................................................................................................................Naperville Sadie Wynne................................................................................................................. Bolingbrook   Alto Julie Dee........................................................................................................................................ Volo Marcia Ecker........................................................................................................South Barrington Pam Eiten..............................................................................................................................Wheaton Jean Follett............................................................................................................................Hinsdale Mele Howland....................................................................................................... Downers Grove Maureen Lyons........................................................................................................................Darien Arlayne Pekofske....................................................................................................................Darien Dottie Williames...........................................................................................................Sugar Grove Angela Zawada....................................................................................................................Chicago   Tenor Niall Casserly.......................................................................................................Rolling Meadows Sean Doty.......................................................................................................................... Burr Ridge Brett Goad........................................................................................................................Woodridge Andrew Johnson................................................................................................... Downers Grove Jay Kessen.............................................................................................................................Oak Park Dennis Schafer...........................................................................................................................Joliet Larry Stephens...................................................................................................................Plainfield John Whittington................................................................................................. Downers Grove Jim Yarbrough..................................................................................................................... Elmhurst   Bass Ben Adair..........................................................................................................................Woodridge Jon Bacon.............................................................................................................................Lombard Jack Dare................................................................................................................. Downers Grove Paul Drennan......................................................................................................Glendale Heights Al Pedersen............................................................................................................Western Springs Daniel Saathoff...............................................................................................................Warrenville Dave Saunders................................................................................................................Woodridge David Scott........................................................................................................................Naperville Doug Thompson.................................................................................................................Hinsdale the little match girl passion by David Lang is performed by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., Music Publishers rental library. 10 New Classic Singers


O U R T H A N K S TO T H E F O L L OW I N G S U P P O R T E R S McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage Boundas, Skarzynski, Walsh & Black, L.L.C. Michael Aikins Mr. & Mrs. Dean Brandt Michelle & Thomas Braxton John D. Breen Mary Burkhardt Allen & Gina Carter Jack & Laura Dare Robert & Jaclyn Doty Paul Drennen Marcia Ecker Barbara & John Eckholm Michael & Daniela Folker Fifth Third Bank Follett Corporation Franciscan Friars, Joliet Barbara Geis Joanna & Jack Goral Harris Bank Hinsdale Georgia K. Hamilton Victoria Hellyer & Jonathan Siegel Susan Kempfer

James & Lynn Kessen Mele Howland & Timothy Krauskopf Andrew & Cynthia Johnson Leah & Andrew Kamm Lee R. Kesselman Robert & Durema Kohl Maureen Lyons Beth Majerszky Mark Materna Marilyn McCormick Linda Motz Drs. Don & Mary Ellen Newsom Phillip J. O’Donnell Karen Webb Owen Allen & Patricia Pedersen Arlayne & Robert Pekofske Ruth & Stephen Pordes Jean Pratt David & Janice Saunders Diane Ragains Slawin Susan Schroeder Gabriela Sevilla & Jaime Montoya-Robles

David H. Shaftman Sigma Alpha Iota, LaGrange Alumnae Chapter Florence R. Slavick James & Linda Smedinghoff Paul Srivatka Larry Stephens Allen Sterwalt & Gerald Spearman Lorraine H. Taylor Douglas Thompson & Jean Follett Richard M. Traut Jim Tucker & Neil Lucchese Jim Kempfer & Susan Van Ordstrand Ray & Lois Voss Donald G. & Helen Westlake Prudy Widlak Dottie Williames Ann Field Williams

Free TickeTs nothing up our sleeves Weekly ticket giveaways

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FROM THE PRESIDENT For nearly three decades New Classic Singers has been singing for you—and in the process introducing you to many composers you have probably never heard of. Sometimes these composers become famous—like Eric Whitacre. Remember how long ago it was we first performed Water Night? And sometimes, unfortunately, they remain our own wondrous treasure—like Daniel Brewbaker. We wish everyone could have the joy of singing and hearing Brewbaker’s incredible From the Heart series. We know that by singing contemporary music we ask a lot of you, but we also know that you have learned to trust us. Today we will challenge you with both the music and the story of the little match girl passion. But if you let yourself sink into this amazing music and the hearttugging texts you will begin to understand why David Lang won the Pulitzer Prize for his work, the rarest of rarities in the choral music world. You will be greatly rewarded for your trust in New Classic Singers, our Music Director Lee Kesselman and in Lang. There is no doubt that the little match girl passion deserves more than one hearing. You can listen again as we perform it live on WFMT/98.7 on Monday, March 21st at 8:00 p.m. We are honored to once again receive an invitation from WFMT—like you, it seems they trust us. We never forget that you have chosen to join us and the knowledge of that choice gives us as much pleasure as the performing. As always, thank you! We Sing for You, Jean Follett

It’s always the perfect time of year to buy NCS’ FAMILY CHRISTMAS ALBUM CD. Our CD is available at the Arts Center Ticket Office, at all of our concerts, and on our web-site.

Boys and Girls Saturday, May 7, 8 pm McAninch Arts Center, Glen Ellyn   A fun, playful look at Boys and Girls, from madrigals and Romantic part-songs by Brahms, to music by Kirke Mechem and Eric Whitacr Tickets are available at the Arts Center Ticket Office, 630-942-4000 or on our website.   www.newclassicsingers.org 12 New Classic Singers


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