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Classical A Cappella Singing

Food For The Soul

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How Can I Keep From Singing?
US composers right now are among some of the very best for classical acapella. Join 24 for a romp through the very best from Thompson to Whitacre, from Gjeilo to Lauridsen and all points in between.

Join us for an evening

  My life flows on in endless song;
  Above earth's lamentation,
I catch the sweet, tho' far-off hymn
  That hails a new creation;
Thro' all the tumult and the strife
  I hear the music ringing;
It finds an echo in my soul—
How can I keep from singing?

(Hymn, Lowry, 1869: How can I keep from singing?)

We love a good earworm in VentiQuattro - you know, those tunes or snippets that just get inside your head and don't let go.

So we're book-ending this concert with two interpretations of the folksy hymn by Lowry, originally written for Sunday school.


Then we're going to showcase just why the Americans right now are the ones to watch when it comes to choral composition. Lauridsen is so well established now he even has his own 'school' designation, but it would be rude not to show influences from Barber and Copland that give this sound foundations.

Just as 20th century British composers like Vaughan Williams relied heavily on folk songs for inspiration, the influence of Americana here is profound, and in the second half we'll look at how that plays out with Burleigh, LaBarr and Quartel.

Don't expect to nod off, however - even with LaBarr's Grace Before Sleep and Whitacre's Sleep we'll get you out of your reverie with Burleigh's morning greeting. 

Ticheli was an early pioneer of the modern school and his Earth Song is all too rarely performed now, and Gjeilo's Tota is a masterful work from an often underestimated composer. Quartel's rousing rendition reminds us why we all sing, some in the bath, some in church, and everybody, just for the fun of it:

  I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
  I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
  Since first I learned to love it,

Join us for a relaxing and sonorous evening of exquisite songs from America's finest.

A few of the highlights


Lauridsen's best known piece sets out his 'sound-well' in epic style with challenges for every choir in range, subtlety, and blend. The peace of the Pacific North West travels well.

Frank Ticheli

Modern compositions all too often have a reputation for being angular or musically worthy but hard on the ear. Ticheli was one to lead a return to sonorous treatment of simple and profound messages as here.


The perfect antidote to Whitacre's seminal celebration of sleep, the folk tradition is shot throughout the American choral tradition like a stick of rock; here's one of the best.


We Love This Too...

Some pieces we love from recent or coming performances that

can brighten the day or lift your heart




A very complex piece from an exiled Orthodox perspective, most know parts, but this expressive alleluia sums it up


Frank Martin's Mass

for Double Choir

The highlight of our second concert, Martin's Mass for double choir keeps growing on you.



Se per havervi

Lauridsen is known for many pieces now, but this madrigal is one of his lesser known triumphs



As faithful a rendition of the liturgical text musically as you probably get - beauty on a stick...


Big Mac's Mis

Didn't think Allegri could be topped? Well try this. We did, and proved it...


The Road Home 

Our most popular encore and a big tug on anyone's heart strings

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