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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

Events by collegiate and professional choirs add up to an unofficial “Choral Shark Week,” starting Apr 3. Here are the highlights

Crossing_cr_Kevin_Vondrak.jpg
Becky Oehlers Photography
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The Crossing
The Crossing in concert

Between April 3-9, choral music lovers will have the opportunity to hear the Grammy-winning choir The Crossing, a mixed-media choral showcase featuring Western Michigan University’s University Chorale, Amphion, and Anima, and a heartfelt celebration of the life of Thomas Kasdorf, the beloved choir conductor who passed away at 85 in Oct 2020.

Thomas Kasdorf
Thomas Kasdorf

In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, WMU director of choral activities Dr. Kim Adams says the convergence of choral events she dubbed “choral shark week” begins at 3 pm Sunday Apr 3 in Chenery Auditorium. This free concert is the first public memorial for Dr. Kasdorf. He taught choirs at Loy Norrix High School for 29 years, was music director at First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo for 47 years, and let the Kalamazoo Singers for 30 years. He coached ensembles at WMU, and gave moral and financial support to The Crossing for new music commissions.

The Celebration of Life concert will feature The Crossing, University Chorale, singer Susan Anthony, and pianist Lori Sims, according to Dr. Adams.

On Tuesday, Apr 5, the Kalamazoo Bach Festival presents Chanticleer at Kalamazoo College’s Dalton Theatre. They’ll perform a program of Renaissance to jazz-pop called “Awakenings.” It starts at 7:30 pm. NOTE: this event is NOW CANCELLED due to illness.

The Crossing, which won consecutive Grammy awards in 2018-19, starts its WMU residency Sunday and gives a public concert at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, Apr 6. Like Chanticleer, their program touches on re-emergence, opening with a movement from the newly-commissioned Carols after a Plague by Shara Nova. Adams says this daring group epitomizes the ideal that “choral music is communication.”

GCII will perform a free program of vocal jazz at 7:30 pm Thursday, Apr 7, says Adams, and “choral shark week” comes to a close with a free choral showcase featuring the University Chorale, Amphion and Anima in Miller Auditorium at 8 pm, Saturday, Apr 9.

Adams says this concert continues the “Choir for Good” concept she launched in 2021, in which WMU students sing music that they connect to a cause in the service of raising awareness and funds for their chosen non-profit organizations. Animations and other visuals will be projected during the music to highlight connections between the music and various charities. The Miller Auditorium setting will allow many hundreds to attend.