The Birth of Voices 21

In the beginning...

The Birth of a Chamber Chorus

VOICES XXI owes its existence to the coming together of three favorable elements: a music director with a dream, the availability of some money from the estate of a former choral singer, and a group of singers looking for a place to sing.

Music Director Dr. Jesse Parker had long been interested in forming a chamber chorus that would focus on neglected masterworks from the 14 th , 15 th , and early 16 th centuries. These would be performed side by side with works from the 20 th and 21 st centuries so that the music of the different eras could be compared and contrasted. Dr. Parker was also keenly interested in preparing and presenting new music, especially works composed for the premiering ensemble. The first element was in place.

Meanwhile, in early 2000, Jane Denney was settling the estate of long-time friend and supporter of the arts, Bill Martin. Bill had requested that some of the money from his estate be given to a chorus. With this in mind, she approached Dr. Parker --- who had also been a friend of Bill's --- and asked whether he had ever considered forming his own choral group and what it would take to do that. His answers were "yes" and "money." This led to a promise of some financial backing for a new chorus from Bill Martin's estate. The second element was in place.

Finally, there was a group of singer friends looking for a chorus to join. Many of these had long sung in a large symphonic chorus under the direction of Dr. Paul Traver and were looking for a change of pace after his retirement. They teamed up with Dr. Parker to form the new group, becoming its nucleus, and were joined by several other excellent singers also looking for a change. The third element was in place.

So it began. A new chamber chorus was born, and VOICES XXI presented its first pair of concerts in December of 2000.


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