Downers Grove Choral Society Hires New Director
On Monday, September 12, there was a new conductor keeping time in Downers Grove. The Downers Grove Choral Society is pleased to announce that Dr. Amy Weller is the next director of the 60-voice community chorus. Weller comes to Downers Grove with a wealth of knowledge and experience complemented by her enthusiasm and boundless energy.
Before joining DGCS, Weller served as the conductor of the University Singers and instructor of Choral Literature at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. Previously, she was Director of Choral Organizations and Associate Professor of Music at DePaul University. While at DePaul, Weller founded the DePaul Community Chorus, a thriving ensemble that owes its existence to her own love of community choral singing. “A Community chorus has an esprit de corps that is unique among musical ensembles. Singers sing in community choruses because they want to sing, not because they are required to do so.” Weller continues, “The variety of ages and backgrounds that are represented in a community chorus is part of the attraction for me. So, too, is the role that a community chorus can play in the life of its members and in society at large. “
Already in possession of a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Stanford University, she acquired a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from Dominican University while staying “at home” with two young sons. During this time, she edited a scholarly edition of Anton Reicha’s Missa Pro Defunctis (Requiem) that premiered in Palo Alto, California in November of 2009.
Weller doesn’t just have experience directing, she is equally comfortable on both sides of the podium. In Chicago, she sang for several seasons with His Majesties Clerkes, the group now known as Bella Voce. Before arriving in Chicago, she sang with the Blossom Festival Chorus, the chorus that performs with the Cleveland Orchestra during that symphony’s summer season. She entered Cornell University planning to acquire a degree in environmental sciences, but after first singing with the Blossom Festival Chorus at the age of 18 and then taking a music theory course her freshman year, she was hooked. “I had studied violin for years and had become quite proficient on the instrument but it was the nature of choral music-making that really touched me. The act of singing not just notes, but texts is what I think attracted me to the medium. Communicating written words that are set sensitively to music is the ultimate in expression.”
Weller looks forward to exploring varied and exciting settings of texts during the Downers Grove Choral Society rehearsals which are held on Monday evenings at the Indian Boundary YMCA in the Milnes Room. Referring to Thelma Roe Milnes, founder of DGCS, and her son, Sherrill, who has performed lead roles in operas around the world, Weller says, “The nature and history of the Downers Grove Choral Society, in particular, I find incredibly exciting. It isn’t every community group that has as its founder the mother of an internationally acclaimed opera star!” You can see Dr. Amy Weller in action at her inaugural performance leading the Downers Grove Choral Society at 3:00 pm on November 20, 2011 at Faith United Methodist Church, located at the corner of 59th Street and Fairview Avenue in Downers Grove. The chorus will present “Joyeux Noël,” a collection of seasonal music including Saint-Saens’s Christmas Oratorio, Mechem’s Seven Joys of Christmas, and Finzi’s In Terra Pax. Other works on the program include compositions of Gabriel Faure and David Conte. Tickets may be purchased in advance by phoning 630.515.0030 or visiting the website www.dgcs.org.