One of Philadelphia’s greatest assets is its long tradition of volunteer choruses. The choristers in these organizations sing for the sheer joy of singing great works under the baton of a professional conductor. The Chestnut Street Singers are a younger group with a slightly different organizational structure, but they’ve proved they’re a worthy addition to that tradition. Without a paid music director, they call themselves a “cooperative chorus,” and they get along by sharing conducting assignments, programming, and other chores.
Their programming process produces offbeat subjects, but it consistently generates memorable concerts. Their next concert will delve into music by northern composers created in response to the northern wilderness. The composers on the roster sport names like Tormis and Ešenvalds, along with more familiar bylines like Sibelius and Elgar. If you like good unaccompanied choral singing, you’ll like the Chestnut Street Singers, and you’ll encounter music you won’t hear anywhere else.
The Chestnut Street Singers will present The Northern Wild at two Philadelphia concerts: November 18 at 8pm at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill (8855 Germantown Avenue), and November 19 at 3pm at the First Unitarian Church (2125 Chestnut Street). Both concerts are pay-what-you-wish. Donations by cash, card, or check will be accepted at the door.