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Choirs and Choruses

The North Central College Choral Program

A Tradition of Excellence


The North Central College Choral Program, under the direction of Dr. Ramona Wis and Prof. Jacqueline Schutt, comprises four choirs, each with their own unique musical style.

The North Central College Concert Choir and Women’s Chorale, directed by Dr. Ramona Wis, in collaboration with resident ensemble DuPage Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Barbara Schubert, performing Francis Poulenc’s Gloria, February 2014, featuring Sarah Wolfson, soprano, Wentz Concert Hall.

Schubert Wis Wolfson

Concert Choir

Dr. Ramona Wis, Conductor


Praised by audiences wherever it has appeared, the North Central College Concert Choir performs a variety of sacred music, choral classics, spirituals and folk music from all historical periods. Selected by audition, the members of the 50-voice choir come from states across the nation and represent most academic disciplines on campus.

 

Composer/arranger Stacey V. Gibbs visits to work with Concert Choir on stylistic practice of the African American spiritual.  

In preparation for their February performances and as part of their study of stylistic practice during Black History month, Concert Choir welcomes internationally known composer and arranger Stacey V. Gibbs to their noon-1:10 rehearsal on Wednesday, February 6.  The choir, under the direction of Dr. Ramona Wis, will be presenting one of Maestro Gibbs’ arrangements at concerts in Geneva, IL on February 13 (Geneva Lutheran Church, 7:00 PM) and at Wentz Concert Hall on February 15 (7:30 PM).

Stacey V. Gibbs is a prolific and highly sought after composer and arranger. Best known for arrangements of spirituals, he is highly acclaimed for his ability to infuse new energy into familiar works without sacrificing their authenticity or power. 

Maestro Gibbs' spirituals have been performed by the United States Air Force Sergeants, The St. Olaf Choir, the Stellenbosch Choir of Africa, the University of Southern California Chamber Singers, the Winston-Salem State University Singing Rams, Morehouse & the University of Michigan Glee Clubs, the Wartburg Choir, and many other college, university, high school, and professional ensembles both domestically and internationally. His music has been programmed at all state festivals, National Association of Music Educators (MENC) Festivals, the World Choir Games, and regional and national American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Conventions. Several of his works also appear on J.W. Pepper's Editor's Choice lists, including Didn't It Rain: The Spirituals of Stacey V. Gibbs, recorded by the Sunday Night Singers of California, and his setting of Way Over in Beulah Lan' which was performed at the 57th Inaugural Service for President Barack Obama. 

Recently, two of his settings were debuted at the World Choral Symposium in Barcelona and he was also honored by five debuts at the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Minneapolis. Maestro Gibbs' made his conducting debut at Carnegie Hall in April, 2017 and debuted his new works Freedom, I'm So Glad and I Wish That I Knew How It Feels to Be Free. He will present another new work From Agony to Glory: the Spiritual in 2018. 

Mr. Gibbs serves as a clinician (nationally and internationally) for university, high school, professional, and church choral organizations. He attended Kentucky State University where he served as student conductor. The Stacey V. Gibbs Chorale debuted in July 2016. A management professional with 20 years experience, Mr. Gibbs holds membership in ACDA. He currently resides in Detroit, Michigan.

Performance Recordings
"Mari Mome" ed. by Bonnie Sneed
"Lullaby" by Daniel Elder

Women's Chorale

Dr. Ramona Wis, Conductor


The Women’s Chorale has earned a reputation for a warm, expressive sound and innovative concert programming and staging. Members are chosen by audition and represent all academic degree programs and classes. The Chorale has sung with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra, professional choruses Bella Voce and Vox Caelestis, and toured Ireland in 2012 and France, Germany, and Austria in 2009. The Chorale regularly premiers new music and has commissioned pieces by James Mulholland, James Falzone, and Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky.

 

Women’s Chorale Headed to New York City and Carnegie Hall

In celebration of its 25th year and with gratitude for a generous gift by Dr. Myron Wentz, the Women’s Chorale will be touring and presenting performances in New York City during spring break, March 14 through March 18.  The 39-member ensemble, accompanied by faculty Dr. Ramona Wis (Founder/Conductor), Barbara Shiffler ’71 Vanderwall (Accompanist and Head of Piano Studies), and Linda Ogden ’71 Hagen (Head of Vocal Studies) will present performances at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and at Carnegie Hall.  The tour will also include visits to memorable sites such as the 9/11 Memorial and Museum and attendance at the Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate.

The North Central College Women’s Chorale was founded in 1994 by its conductor, Dr. Ramona Wis, and has earned a reputation for warm, expressive women’s choral sound and innovative concert programming and staging.  Members are chosen by audition, represent all academic degree programs, and range in age from freshman through senior. The Chorale has performed orchestral works of Debussy, Vaughan Williams, and Poulenc with the DuPage Symphony Orchestra and has performed with professional choruses Bella Voce and Vox Caelestis. Committed to new music, the Chorale has commissioned works by composers James Mulholland, Gwyneth Walker, Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, and James Falzone.The Chorale was a selected performing ensemble at the Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conference and the GIA Fall Institute Conference in Chicago.The Chorale has taken two international tours—in 2009, to France, Germany, and Austria and in 2012, to Ireland, with concerts in Galway, Killarney, Bray, and Dublin.

Founder/Conductor Dr. Ramona Wis is the Mimi Rolland Endowed Professor in the Fine Arts, Professor of Music, and Director of Choral Activities at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois.  She conducts the Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, and Women’s Chorale and teaches courses in conducting, music methods, and servant leadership.

Dr. Wis holds degrees from the University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. An active festival conductor, clinician, writer, and public speaker, Dr. Wis has presented workshops across the country and in Canada, including presentations for the British Columbia Music Educators Association, the International Conference of the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, GALA Choruses, the Tennessee Arts Academy, the Illinois and Ohio Music Educators Associations, and in 2016, was the keynote speaker and session presenter for the ACDA North Central Division conference. 

Dr. Wis’s book, The Conductor as Leader:  Principles of Leadership Applied to Life on the Podium has quickly become a leadership classic among conductors and music teachers, as well as those interested in leadership outside the music profession.  She has written for The Choral Journal, Music Educators JournalTeaching Music and the China Europe International Business School Review, and is a contributing author to Toward a Description of Musical Experience and The Musical Experience: Rethinking Music Teaching and Learning, written by doctoral faculty and fellows of Northwestern University. 

Dr. Wis has served as President of the American Choral Directors Association in Illinois and on both ACDA and ILMEA executive boards. She has sung under Robert Shaw, James Levine and Margaret Hillis, and has conducted and performed in professional, theatrical, community, and academic settings for more than 35 years. Dr. Wis holds the 200-hour yoga teacher certification (CYT/RYT) and is currently in the 500-hour teacher certification program at Prairie Yoga Institute. Her additional work in biomechanics and anatomy continues her study of the body-mind connection in choral music and conducting.

Performance Recordings
"Radiant Sister of the Day" by David Brunner
"Gloria" by Ola Gjeilo

Cardinal Chorus

Mr. Jon Warfel, Conductor


Cardinal Chorus is dedicated to the study and performance of a wide variety of choral repertoire and to the development of foundational choral and vocal skills such as sight-reading, tone color, choral diction, and blend and balance. Each term includes at least one public performance. No audition required, but a voice placement will take place as part of the rehearsal process each term.

 

Performance Recordings
"Muusica" by Pärt Uusberg

Chamber Singers

Dr. Ramona Wis, Conductor


The most selective choir at North Central College, the Chamber Choir is dedicated to performing the very best choral literature at the highest level. This audition-only group of 24 singers comprises students from many academic majors.

 

Performance Recordings
Video: Benedicamus Domino
"Sing On!" by Gwyneth Walker