It’s all too easy to take something for granted when it is right on your doorstep. As I was listening to the Baltimore Choral Arts Society’s generous program ranging from Madrigals to Musicals yesterday afternoon, I realized afresh what a fine ensemble it is. Tom Hall – who interspersed his delicious commentary throughout the program – has been leading the chorus for 32 years, and he’s honed it into a first class group with a unique sound and balance. The first time I ever heard a BCAS concert, I was intrigued by the seemingly higgledy-piggledy arrangement of the singers. They were not grouped in the traditional soprano-alto-tenor-bass blocks. When I asked Tom about it, he explained that he groups quartets of the four voice parts throughout the chorus – and it certainly creates a beautiful, homogenous sound. They also, by the way, have exquisite diction, and not only in English. A high point of the concert for me was Morten Laurdisen’s beautiful Les Chansons des Roses, and it was enhanced by crystal clear French pronunciation. BCAS was joined by fleet fingered Peabody graduate, Leo Wanenchak, and Maryland born lyric soprano, Janice Chandler Eteme, so in every way it was a home-grown – but world class – performance.
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