Grinnell Singers spring break tour returns with five concerts

February 21, 2022 — The Grinnell Singers, a 50-student ensemble from Grinnell College, are embarking on a five-performance spring break tour in March. 

The Singers will team up with Lyra Baroque Orchestra for performances in Saint Paul and Rochester, Minnesota before giving free concerts titled, “And the Stars Will Shine,” in Madison, Chicago, and Des Moines. 

“The choir is pleased to be performing on tour for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, and they are grateful to be returning to the welcoming community of Grinnellians,” says John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music.

Group photo of the 2021/2022 Grinnell Singers.
The 2021/22 Grinnell Singers.

All the concerts are open to the public. The Singers will be performing with masks, and masks are required to be worn by audience members. A complete listing of the concert schedule is below along with health and safety guidelines for each venue. 

The return of in-person classes at Grinnell for the 2021-22 school year has allowed the ensemble to sing together in one place after the challenge of virtually performing together the previous year.

The tour will start in Minnesota with a special collaboration with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra, a professional ensemble from the Twin Cities. This will be the fourth collaboration with the ensemble “We are so fortunate to have developed this partnership with these outstanding musicians,” Rommereim says.

The Minnesota performances will feature “Missa Omnium Sanctorum,” a dazzling work for choir and orchestra by Jan Dismas Zelenka, a Czech composer who was a contemporary of J. S. Bach.

The Singers solo tour will begin with “Singet dem Herrn” [Sing to the Lord], a jubilant psalm setting for double choir written by Heinrich Schütz. Next up is “Sing to the Moon,” a consoling, compassionate piece by the contemporary British artist Laura Mvula. 

“The concert will celebrate the joy of singing, beginning with two pieces that span four centuries,” Rommereim says. “The music ranges widely, from majestic works like the ninth movement of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil – a movement so symphonic in conception that Rachmaninov later arranged it for orchestra – to an affectionate, intimate work.”

The concert lineup will continue with an amorous madrigal by Giovanni Gabrieli, a gentle psalm setting by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, a jazz-inflected work by the California-based composer/arranger Alexander Loyd Blake, and a song that grew out of the Arab Spring protests, which will be sung in Arabic. 

In the final section of the concert, subtitled “Gathering strength and resolve through song,” the choir will offer composer Joel Thompson’s stirring setting of Langston Hughes’s poem, “Hold Fast to Dreams.”

The Grinnell Singers Concert Schedule

St. Paul, Minnesota

(Joint concert with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra)

Saturday, March 19 – 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.*

Sundin Hall at Hamline University
1531 Hewitt Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55104

Ticket information
Health and Safety Guidelines

*The 7:30 p.m. concert will also be livestreamed

Rochester, Minnesota

Monday, March 21 – 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Christ United Methodist Church
400 5th Avenue SW
Rochester, Minnesota 55902

Visit the Lyra Baroque Orchestra webpage for ticket information for the joint concert with the Lyra Baroque Orchestra.

Ticket information
Health and Safety Guidelines

Madison, Wisconsin

Tuesday, March 22 – 7:30 p.m.

First United Methodist Church
203 Wisconsin Ave.
Madison, Wisconsin 53703

Concert free of charge

Health and Safety Guidelines for First United Methodist Church

Chicago, Illinois

Wednesday, March 23 – 7:30 p.m.

Wicker Park Lutheran Church
1500 N. Hoyne Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60622

Concert free of charge.

Health and Safety Guidelines for Wicker Park Lutheran Church

Des Moines, Iowa

Thursday, March 24 – 5:30 p.m.

Plymouth United Church of Christ
4126 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa

Concert free of charge.

Health and Safety Guidelines for Plymouth United Church of Christ

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

Known for their innovative and adventurous choral programming, the Grinnell Singers have performed in Estonia, Finland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, and across the U.S. Learn more about the Singers.

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