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Chanticleer to open Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts season October 1

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HESSTON, KAN. – Chanticleer, a world-renowned choral ensemble, will open the 2006-07 Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts series with a concert at Hesston College’s Yost Center at 7 p.m., Sunday, October 1.

Hailed by the New Yorker magazine as “America’s favorite choral ensemble” and praised by the Los Angeles Times for its “luxurious perfection,” the GRAMMY® Award-winning vocal ensemble will perform more than 80 concerts in 22 states between mid-September and early June.

Based in San Francisco, Chanticleer has developed a remarkable reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music. With its seamless blend of twelve male voices – including Lawrence native Gabriel Lewis-O’Connor, bass – ranging from countertenor to bass, the ensemble has earned international renown as “an orchestra of voices.”

In Hesston, Chanticleer will sing a program titled “Love’s Messengers,” a salute to the music of the heart. “Love’s Messengers” features works by masters such as Guerrero, Gesualdo, Orlando di Lasso, Poulenc and Messiaen, along with folk songs and familiar gems.

Chanticleer records exclusively for Warner Classics. In 2005, Sound in Spirit, a mosaic of sacred chant from across time and cultures, was released. In 2004, the ensemble released How Sweet the Sound: Spirituals and Traditional Gospel Music, featuring guest artist Bishop Yvette Flunder. Colors of Love won the GRAMMY® Award in 2000 for Best Small Ensemble Performance and the Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for Best Classical Album. Chanticleer’s three Christmas recordings are especially popular, as is the DVD of the 2002 Christmas concert at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, which is broadcast nationally on public television.

Named for the “clear-singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang with the group until 1989 and served as artistic director until his death in 1997. In 1999, Christine Bullin joined Chanticleer as president and general director. Music director Joseph Jennings joined the ensemble as a countertenor in 1983, and shortly thereafter assumed his current title.

Tickets for Chanticleer range from $15 to $20 with discounts available for students and senior citizens. Call 620-327-8158 or 316-284-5205 for reservations.

Other concerts in the 2006-07 HBPA season include: Salzburg Chamber Soloists (Nov. 20), Newton Mid-Kansas Symphony (Feb. 11), Doug Talley Quartet (March 4), and Carrie Newcomer (March 27). Season tickets range from $51 to $60 with discounts available for students and senior citizens. Call 620-327-8158 or 316-284-5205 to order.

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