March 13th, 2020
For those of you who are bottom-line people, this message is to inform you that the season and the May concerts have been cancelled, effective immediately. Brian and I had already been discussing the possibility of suspending the season, for the first time since the chorus’ inception in 1970, because of the risks associated with being so physically close to each other and constantly exhaling, forcefully, in the midst of a highly contagious pandemic. I have been monitoring cases in the Chicagoland area and we had intended to make the decision before the next rehearsal, but the Archdiocese of Chicago (which includes St. Alphonsus), out of an abundance of caution, has decided that parishes will not be open for public worship or ministerial groups until further notice. This includes our rehearsal space.
I will truly miss being a part of Brian’s vision this semester. His concert theme of showcasing composers who had emigrated to the United States would have resulted in an incredible musical experience, along with an equally incredible message of how much immigrants have added to the social fabric of this country. I hope he will revisit the concept in the future!
We will not see each other until the kickoff of the 50th season of CRC in September. Please take care of yourselves and your singing voices, and please stay informed about what is happening with the virus and adopt safe practices, such as hand-washing, no hand-shaking, social-distancing (6 feet seems to be the accepted distance,) covering your coughs and asking others to do the same, and refraining from touching countertops and other hard surfaces in public (the virus may be able to live for several hours on hard surfaces.) There are myriad other tips that news agencies are sharing. I will miss seeing you all on Tuesday nights, but look forward to meeting up in September.
Board of Directors
Community Renewal Chorus
The Community Renewal Chorus is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and celebrating diversity, equality, peace, and justice through music. Active in Chicago’s musical life since 1970, the Chorus forms a singing community – their membership personifies their commitment to diversity and inclusion by bringing together people of various races, faith perspectives, economic backgrounds, political affiliations,and sexual orientations.
As one of the few community musical groups in the United States whose diversity truly reflects the face of urban America, the Chorus believes music has the power to inspire, educate, celebrate, forewarn, and challenge, and is a living witness that people can break through the walls that separate human beings from each other and forms a community where the contributions, capacities, gifts and talents of all are appreciated, affirmed and celebrated.
The Chorus has performed over 600 concerts in more than 175 different communities. Its repertoire encompasses music from many traditions and cultures, including major classical works, folk songs from diverse cultures, contemporary and traditional hymns, Broadway show tunes, spirituals and gospel, and songs that reflect hope for the city.
Brian Bloye is a pianist, organist, choral conductor, tenor, and composer. As a pianist, he is an active accompanist, recitalist, and chamber musician. Recent performances as a soloist include concertos by Hans Krasa, J.C. Bach, and Mozart with the Chicago Arts Orchestra. He has accompanied Chicago Choral Artists and the William Ferris Chorale in concert, being recognized by the Chicago Tribune for his accompaniment of the Chorale. As an organist, he has performed recitals in France, Germany, and throughout Chicagoland.
During his tenure as the music director at St. Alphonsus church, he has developed a choral program with a reputation for liturgical excellence, particularly in polyphonic music of the Renaissance. As a composer, he has set all of the psalms in the lectionary cycle in a variety of styles, and has composed a Mass that is currently in use at the parish. His arrangement of Amazing Grace can be heard on tenor Branden James’s CD The Voice of Christmas, which was released this past December. He was the session pianist, organist, and choral conductor for that CD as well. Excerpts from the disc were recently played on WFMT.
As a tenor, he has sung with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, Bella Voce, and Richard Proulx’s Cathedral Singers. Brian graduated with highest honors from the University of Michigan’s School of Music and received the master of music degree cum laude from DePaul University.