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The tenor who sang my songs at the Green Mill Cabaret sings with the Wicker Park Choral Singers. For my dad’s birthday, we went to see their performance last Saturday at St. Vincent De Paul Church.

They came down the aisle singing “Bwana, Ni Nani Atakayekaa” (got that? :)) a Sukuma melody from Kenya, and circled the baptismal pool. It was a nice transition from hot night to fun culture, a transition leading you out of your head so you could relax and enjoy.

“Kyrie” from “Missa Papae Marcelli” by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was my favorite. It was their second piece. They stayed circled around the pool but faced in. It reminded me of a falling flower, constantly unfurling its petals as it fell or watching your beloved walk toward you and you recap your journey to this point and realize it was all worth it and all is right. (Okay, smooshy extended metaphors and similes, but it was hot and I’m a push over for beautiful music.)

Mark Tomasino is the artistic director and he conducted the group that evening. I’m sure most of the audience was used to seeing him, but I always think it’s cool seeing someone my age up there. I know conductors and artistic directors need to start somewhere and were young once, but to see one who is already very good and accomplished is cool. He believes choral music can and should be accessible and fun to be a positive influence in people’s lives. His mission was accomplished Saturday.

There was an audience participation sequence which made me nervous. They usually turn out like organized chaos and the audience think, “Well, they tried.” Some people don’t like being involved in the show. They came to check out and enjoy.
Got even more nervous when he said it was a Gregorian chant. It actually turned out really well. We sang once line in Latin while the choral singers sang around us. It was nice. It was like being cared for, the singers wrapping us up in their voices. And I could hear Jacob, the tenor, at one point (he was supposed to be heard–wasn’t like he was going rogue with his voice).

It was a very nice evening filled with music from 4 continents and spanning 8 centuries. The heat suddenly wasn’t that bad. It made me want to sing. Most importantly, my dad enjoyed it.

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