Northwest Choral Invites Prospective Members to Meet & Greet

PARK RIDGE, IL, July 28, 2018 – If you previously sang in a chorus – high school, college or community group – and are now looking for a great activity in which to participate, Northwest Choral Society (“NWCS”) invites you to a “Meet & Greet” on Tuesday, August 28.  The casual social event will be held between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 766 Graceland Avenue in Des Plaines. 

The evening will include welcoming prospective members, refreshments and a short slide show about the chorus.  In addition, join NWCS for a short group lesson presented by Jade Maze on an aspect of singing.  Ms. Maze is on the faculty of the Merit School of Music in Chicago.  She has studied at Northwestern University and Northeastern Illinois University, and she is a teaching artist for the Ravinia Music Festival. 

NWCS also will welcome Kevin Kelly as its new Artistic Director, and he will outline his plans for the chorus for the coming season, starting with the annual holiday concert scheduled for December 2.

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Northwest Choral Society (“NWCS”), the premier community-based choral group in the northwest Chicago suburbs, has named Kevin Kelly its Artistic Director.  Northwest Choral Society was founded in 1965, and Mr. Kelly will be NWCS’s fourth Artistic Director when the chorus begins rehearsals for its fifty-third season on September 4.

Mr. Kelly is the Artistic Director of the Allegro Community Chorus, a program of the Palatine Park District, conductor for the Lake County Núcleo of Sistema Ravinia, an outreach program of the Ravinia Festival, and, since 1993, he has conducted the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra in Champaign, helping to build an eleven-player middle school string ensemble into a full symphony orchestra of high school and middle school students from communities throughout the area and receiving the Illinois Council of Orchestras’ “Youth Orchestra of the Year” in 1999.

He previously founded The Prairie Ensemble in Champaign-Urbana, a professional chamber orchestra, and he was honored three times by the Illinois Council of Orchestras for his work with the Ensemble.  He also has directed the Sangamon Valley Youth Orchestras in Springfield and the Illini Statesmen Barbershop Chorus in Champaign-Urbana.  

Mr. Kelly worked for 18 years at public radio station WILL-FM in Urbana: for 13 years as a classical music host, then as host and producer of “Live and Local,” which featured interviews with, and frequent live performances by, artists across many musical genres.

His work with choirs also includes 17 years as choirmaster at Emmanuel Memorial Episcopal Church in Champaign. As music director of The Prairie Ensemble, he conducted collaborative performances with the University of Illinois Concert Choir and the Women’s Glee Club, Amasong, the Chorus of the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana and the Central Illinois Children’s Chorus. He has directed the Sangamon Valley Youth Orchestras in Springfield and the Illini Statesmen Barbershop Chorus in Champaign-Urbana, and was active as a music director and conductor with the Champaign-Urbana Theatre Company.

Mr. Kelly has sung with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, the Grant Park Symphony Chorus, The City Musick, Basically Bach, His Majesties Clerkes (now Bella Voce), the choir at Winnetka’s Christ Church and the Schola Cantorum of St. Peter’s Church in the Loop.  

He received bachelor’s degrees in English (essay writing) and music history and criticism from Northwestern University, and master’s degrees in orchestral and choral conducting from the University of Illinois.  Mr. Kelly is a resident of Elgin, Illinois.

NWCS invites experienced singers from the greater Chicago area to audition to join the organization.  Throughout the chorus’ season (September through mid-June), a variety of sacred, secular, classical and popular music is prepared and performed at three concerts, and this repertoire has become a hallmark of the group.  Basses, tenors, altos and sopranos with previous choral experience and 17 years of age or older can obtain additional information about the Northwest Choral Society at  

NWCS will host a “Meet and Greet” for prospective new members on Tuesday, August 28, at 7:00 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 766 Graceland Avenue, Des Plaines (contact: 224/585-9127;  The new session’s first concert, featuring traditional and contemporary holiday music, is scheduled for Sunday, December 2, at 4 p.m. at St. Raymond de Penafort Church in Mt. Prospect.


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Mission: Audition Featured at Northwest Choral's June 2 Concert

Selecting a new dynamic, knowledgeable and personable leader is a major undertaking for any organization. However, that is the enviable challenge facing the board of directors and the forty-five members of the Northwest Choral Society (“NWCS”) as they consider the finalists vying to become the next artist director of the chorus. Their concert on June 2, entitled “Mission: Audition”, will be a unique opportunity to both celebrate the rich tradition of NWCS’s contemporary American music repertoire and meet the two finalist candidates who have been chosen from a wide field of applicants interested in being the next artistic director of Northwest Choral Society.

NWCS’s final concert of the 2017-18 season on June 2 will be at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Arlington Heights at 7:30 p.m. Each of the two artistic director finalists, Kevin Kelly of Elgin and Guillermo Muñoz Küster of Chicago, have selected the concert music to be performed during one half of the program. They have rehearsed with and prepared the chorus on alternative Tuesday evenings for the last two and a half months, and will be present at the concert to conduct their respective part of the program.

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Mission Audition

The June concert is a unique opportunity to celebrate the rich tradition of choral music and meet th two candidates who hav been chosen from a wide field of applicants who were interested in being the next Artistic Director of Northwest Choral Society.

1806mission audition postcard front resize for article




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Northwest Choral Society Explores 'Celestial Songs' and Premieres Starlight at April 8 Concert

PARK RIDGE, IL, March 6, 2018 – It is rare that one has the opportunity to attend a choral concert that brings together three major themes. However, the Northwest Choral Society’s (“NWCS”) concert on Sunday, April 8 at 4:00 p.m. at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Plaines will feature these three premises: the premiere performance of a choral piece that it commissioned, all of the music on the concert program are “Celestial Songs,” and nearly all of the music was composed or arranged by artists alive today.

Carling FitzSimmons is the guest conductor for the April 8 concert.

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