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Waukesha Choral Union Presents Premiere Of New Commissioned Work

April 19, 2013

The Waukesha Choral Union will present “Something Old & Something New” on Saturday, May 4, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. in Shattuck Auditorium on the Carroll University campus,100 North E. Ave., Waukesha. Artistic director Ernest “Ernie” Brusubardis III will conduct this performance featuring works by Handel, Bach, Haydn, and the world premiere of “Innocence and Reflections,” a commissioned piece by Paula Foley Tillen. Admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors/students, $4 children 11 and under. Tickets are available from all Waukesha Choral Union members, any Waukesha State Bank location, online at http://www.ChoralUnion.org, or by phone at 414-297-9310.

“Something Old & Something New” features the Waukesha Choral Union performing Haydn’s “Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo” (“Little Organ Mass”), excerpts from Handel’s “Chandos Anthems” #7 and #9, and Tillen’s “Innocence and Reflections.” Guest artists, the Brusubardis Strings, will play two movements of Bach’s Concerto in D minor for Two Violins.

“Innocence and Reflections” began as a student writing contest in 2011 sponsored by Waukesha Choral Union, with the intent of using the winning entry as the text for a new commissioned choral work. 15-year-old Waukesha South High School student Abby Lewis’ set of poems was selected from the plethora of entries as the winner. “Having my poetry set to music and sharing this part of me with so many people is both an incredible experience and an extreme honor,” said Lewis. “It will give the poetry more meaning than just the words, however carefully chosen, could ever convey.” Artwork in a variety of mediums, created by Waukesha schools students in response to Lewis’ poetry, will be displayed at the concert.

Local composer, Paula Foley Tillen, was engaged to compose this new piece for the Waukesha Choral Union. “There aren't enough thanks for me to give to Abby Lewis for her writing artistry, and there isn't enough encouragement for me to give to her to continue her journey as an artist,” said Tillen. “There also aren't enough thanks for me to give to Ernie Brusubardis and the members of the Waukesha Choral Union for giving sound and life to the bunch of little black dots I put on a page.”

“The Waukesha Choral Union is excited to share the culmination of years of planning with you on this concert,” said Brusubardis. “Paula Foley Tillen has taken Abby’s text and set seven delightful and expressive movements that provoke joy and profound thought of who we are and how we relate to each other through our humanness.”

“The premier performance of our commissioned work, ‘Innocence and Reflections,’ represents two years of collaboration throughout the artistic community of Waukesha,” said Tom Custis, board president for Waukesha Choral Union. “This undertaking would not be possible without the financial support of our patrons, and grants from Arts Waukesha, Waukesha County Community Foundation, and the Wisconsin Arts Board; with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Ernest Brusubardis III, artistic director of the Waukesha Choral Union, is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee with the Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Music and the Master’s Degree in Music Education with an emphasis on choral conducting. His other choral directorships include the advanced ensembles of Hartford Union High School and the Brusubardis-Dzimtene Latvian Choir. He also serves as music director for many community theater productions throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

Paula Foley Tillen has been a professional musician in the Milwaukee area for the past thirty-five years, acting as music director for many theatre companies in both the Milwaukee and Chicago areas. Paula is director of music at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Waukesha, serves as musical director for the Musical Mainstage series at Sunset Playhouse in Elm Grove, and is adjunct music faculty member at Pius XI High School, where she directs the men’s doo-wop ensemble, The Dudes of Earl. Paula was a founding member and composer-in-residence of the only professional women’s vocal ensemble in the Midwest, the Milwaukee Choral Artists, which recently ended its fifteen year run. Her compositions and arrangements have been performed throughout the US and Canada, and can be found in the catalogs of Hal Leonard Publishing Co., Alliance Publishing Co., Treble Clef Music Press, and Santa Barbara Music Press.

Abby Lewis has been writing and telling stories for as long as she can remember, but it was not until fairly recently that she discovered her passion for poetry. The 16-year-old Waukesha South High School student is constantly inspired in her work both with poetry and other mediums by the world around her, her friends, and her fabulous teachers. She also has a strong musical background herself. Abby joined the Singing Tree when she was only one year old, and has continued in the Children's Choir of Waukesha program for over 15 years, now singing with the ChoralWorks High School Women's Choir. She has also been a part of several honor choirs at both the regional and national levels. Abby has played violin for ten years and is active in her school orchestra family and the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, participating in the group Philharmonia.

Brusubardis Strings, Arianna, Daniella, Sonora, and Viktor Brusubardis, have been playing together since their first years of Suzuki Violin, each one joining in as they began their studies. They started lessons between the ages of 3 and 5. All quartet members have been part of Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) since 5th or 6th grade. Viktor recently traveled on a concert tour with MYSO Senior Symphony to Vienna and Prague.

Waukesha Choral Union has been musically active in the community for over 60 years. WCU was featured in WISN-TV’s “Season to Celebrate” broadcast during Christmas of 2011. Originally a combination of Carroll College students and community singers, it took its present form as an auditioned choir in 1978. Waukesha Choral Union derives its strength and quality from its members’ passion for singing and is always seeking new voices. Auditions are held by appointment. Recent collaborative partners include the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Oconomowoc Chamber Orchestra, Bel Canto Chorus, Milwaukee Choristers, Carroll University Choirs, and the choirs of Waukesha South High School, Muskego High School, and Hartford Union High School. For more information visit http://www.choralunion.org.

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