Acclaimed choir Chanticleer touring SF Bay Area with all-American program

Walt Whitman famously said “I hear America singing.” This month, hearing Chanticleer sing American songs might be just as memorable.

Ask anyone who has been to a Chanticleer concert over the last four decades, and they’ll tell you the 12-man a cappella chorus can sing anything. Renaissance polyphony, Mexican Baroque, American spirituals, Bach motets or contemporary songs — all have figured prominently in the San Francisco-based group’s repertoire over the years.

Founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, Chanticleer has gone on to become one of the world’s premier men’s vocal ensembles. The group is now midway through its 40th season, and the roster has changed as longtime singers retired and new ones joined. But the group has managed to maintain the high standards it started with.

Chanticleer returns this week with four performances of a new program titled “Spacious Skies.” It’s a celebration of American music spanning three centuries — some of which the Grammy Award-winning group performed on its recent 11-concert European tour, which took the singers to eight countries.

Led by music director William Fred Scott, “Spacious Skies” begins with works by William Billings and Stephen Foster and comes forward to include 20th and 21st-century works by Ned Rorem, Samuel Barber, John Corigliano, Steven Stucky and Mason Bates. American pop, jazz and gospel songs complete the program.

If you go, pick up a copy of Chanticleer’s 40th anniversary CD, “Then and There, Here and Now.” Released last September, it features some of the group’s favorite music, including pieces they’ll sing on this program.

Details: 7:30 p.m. March 16 at San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 5 p.m. March 17 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Sacramento, 7:30 p.m. March 19 at Mission Santa Clara, 7:30 p.m. March 20 at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Pleasanton; $20-$60; 415-392-4400;

FOUR FOR THE WEEKEND: Island City Opera presents Puccini’s delectable “La Rondine, 7:30 p.m. March 15, and 2 p.m. March 17, at the Elks Lodge in Alameda; $36-$60, $10 kids; 510-263-8060, Gold Coast Chamber Players presents an all-Mozart program featuring the Alexander String Quartet, with clarinetist Tony Striplen, violist Pamela Freund-Striplen and pianist Jeffrey LaDeur, 7:30 p.m. March 16 at the Lafayette Library and 5 p.m. March 17 at Piedmont Center for the Arts; $45 general, $40 seniors, $15 students; 925.283-3728, Schola Cantorum presents Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” 7:30 p.m. March 16 at First Congregational Church of Palo Alto and 3 p.m. March 17

Source:: East Bay – Entertainment


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