Choir in Philly?
May 28, 2009 3:45 PM   Subscribe

anybody know of a good choir in philly?

I've been living in Chicago, and singing tenor in several choirs for the past couple years. i've sung the quote-unquote "great" choral works by bach and brahms and mozart (just finished singing the rachmaninov all-night vigil). i've sung with one choir behind soloists with the lyric opera, i've sung with the same one with the chicago symphony at ravinia. (i don't include this as an ego boost, but rather, to give an idea of the level of performance i'm looking for).

i'm moving to philadelphia (specifically, university of pennsylvania) in a couple months and have no idea of where to begin searching for a choir of similar caliber (my voice teacher has no contacts in philly). I would really like for the choir to be in the university city/west philly/center city area (no car), and i would really like to continue singing at a similar level.

any ideas? if the choir has a website, could you please include a link?

posted by chicago2penn to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
There seem to be several associated with the university, although at least a few are open to the community-not-university. (I checked there because Yale has a similar setup, and I'd guessed there'd be one.)
posted by cobaltnine at 4:37 PM on May 28, 2009

Fake edit: A lurker named Adam suggested Singing City, as well.

NB: I moved away from the Philly area about 6 years ago and really have no current knowledge of any of the places I've suggested.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:13 PM on May 28, 2009

Hi! Welcome to town! I'm a singer too - tenor also. And there are plenty of places and ways to sing here in town.

The big group is the Choral Arts Society. They have several classifications of members. Some pay, some have the fee waived, and some get paid. I have several friends who sing with them, and I keep telling myself that I should go audition for it, but I just haven't gotten around to it.

Penn has a group called Ancient Voices, which a number of my friends sing in. It does what it says on the tin, really. I'm not certain about requirements for enrollment at Penn, but you'll have that covered either way.

There are a couple of groups that are also around. Those include the Mendelssohn Club, and Vox Amadeus. I've never heard them perform, so I really can't say whether they are any good. But, um, I don't know anyone who sings with them.

There is a group out in Chestnut Hill called "The Crossing" which is a phenomenal group that does only contemporary stuff. There's also a Chicago connection there, since it's Donald Nally's group (Lyric Opera chorus master!). So that's an option. Smaller group, some instrumental accompaniment.

Then, of course, there is the Philadelphia Singers Chorale (the group that accompanies the Philadelphia Orchestra whenever they do something major requiring a chorus like Handel's Messiah or Mozart's Requiem or the Choral Finale to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony or...wait...that's it, isn't it?). I've heard them, and they're fine musically. They are also broken down into professional/volunteer singers.

And then last, but certainly not least is my group, the Eakins Vocal Consort. It's a small a capella chamber choir that is still in its startup phase. But it has put on some really nice concerts in the two years I've been with them. The group focuses on two distinctly different types of music: madrigals, and new compositions by Philadelphia composers. So it's def. an acquired taste. The upside is that it is small (8-10 singers), and it is paid. Unlike a lot of other performance opportunities that are either volunteer or will cost you some cash. It's not a ton, but it is a nice little semi-regular chunk of change. I'm getting $125 next weekend to record a new opera called "The Transformation of Lilith" with the group. And, um, since I'm on the board of directors, I'm pretty sure I can get you in touch with the right people. >_o Also of note, is that it's just a fun group of people to hang out with. Every year we host a Messiah sing-along, which is SO much more fun than the stodgy old Philadelphia Orchestra sing-along. At ours, everyone gets drunk and eats my gingerbread cookies and we all share the solos.

And one final note, is that most of my friends do a lot of their challenging singing at church gigs. That's never been my "thing" really, but they get paid to sing, and they don't just sing boring hymns and praise music. Some of the churches - St. Clements immediately springs to mind - have a pretty decent music budget, and seem to perform good challenging music. So there's that.

Good luck settling in! And MeMail me anytime!
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:24 PM on May 28, 2009

Um, I broke the link to my own group. Faaaaaail. Here it is: Eakins Vocal Consort.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:26 PM on May 28, 2009

I have several friends who have sung with Singing City as well. There's also the Philadelphia Gay Men's Chorus.
posted by desuetude at 8:50 PM on May 28, 2009

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