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Lake Shore Singers perform at Xavier Classics at Noon series

Feb. 23 lunch-hour concert features Brahms quartets

Chicago (Feb. 7, 2007) – The Lake Shore Singers will perform quartets by Johannes Brahms on Friday, Feb. 23, as part of the Xavier Classics at Noon concert series in Saint Xavier University’s McGuire Hall, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago.

Comprising soprano Kathleen VanDeGraaff, mezzo-soprano Jan Bickel, tenor Christopher Lorimer, bass-baritone Peter VanDeGraaff and accompanied by pianist Daniel Surma, the professional singers will present the opus 64 and 92 quartets and the Gypsy Lieder by Brahms in the original German language.

It is the fourth Xavier Classics at Noon concert of the 2006-07 academic year and the first of three spring 2007 programs offered at Saint Xavier. The March 23 concert will feature concert pianist Amy Briggs-Dissanayake in a program of Schubert, Ravel and Ligeti. And the April 20 concert will feature Abellimento, Chicago’s premier flute-and-harp duo featuring Gia Sastre on flute and AnnLaura Tapia on harp. The concerts are open to the public and a $5 donation will be accepted at the door.
Members of the Lake Shore Singers are known locally, nationally and internationally for their vocal performances.

Kathleen VanDeGraaff has been featured at the Costa Rica International Music Festival, singing in opera performances throughout that country. She also has been a soloist at the San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, St. Louis Baroque Festival, Music of the Baroque, Bloomington Early Music Festival and Manitou Music Festival. She has worked with opera companies in Chicago, Milwaukee, Washington, Utah and Idaho. 

Bickel, D.M.A., is founder of Xavier Classics at Noon and a professor of music and director of vocal studies at Saint Xavier University, where she has taught for 24 years. She also is a frequent recitalist in the Chicago area and has appeared as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, and with the Wheaton, Southwest, and Kankakee Valley symphony orchestras. Most recently, she performed the alto solos in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at the International Bar Association convention at Navy Pier.

Lorimer has distinguished himself in Chicago and the Midwest as a performer in opera and oratorio. His opera credits include Abduction from the Seraglio, Rigoletto, The Rake's Progress, Die Fledermaus and The Magic Flute. He performs with the Grant Park Symphony Chorus and Music of the Baroque. Active as a clinician and a member of the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Teachers of Singers, he taught at the National High School Music Institute, College of DuPage and University of Illinois-Chicago before joining DePaul University as a voice instructor.

Hailed by critics as possessing a “resplendent voice,” a “rich, burnished sound” with “formidable skill” and a “commanding grace and strength,” bass-baritone Peter VanDeGraaff has sung to great acclaim throughout the world. His singing has taken him throughout the United States, including engagements with the Houston Symphony, Chicago Symphony and the Utah Symphony, among many others. He also has been active in the opera house and has performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florentine Opera, Milwaukee Opera, Rochester Opera, Chicago Opera Theater, Cedar Rapids Opera and many other companies.

Surma is adjunct professor of piano and staff accompanist at Saint Xavier University. He is also a studio accompanist and accompanist for the Opera Workshop and University choral organizations, and accompanies student, faculty and guest recitals. He is the organist/choral director for United Church of Christ in Skokie. He has appeared four times as soloist with the LaPorte Symphony Orchestra in his hometown of LaPorte, Ind, and has been a keyboardist with the Northwest Indiana Symphony, Whiting Park Festival Orchestra, Illinois Symphony in Springfield, Elgin Symphony and Ravinia Festival Orchestra. 

Xavier Classics at Noon provides 50 minutes of fine classical music to the University and neighboring communities. Since 2005, the series has been supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council.

For more information, please visit www.sxu.edu/music/concerts.asp, or contact the Saint Xavier University music department at (773) 298-3421.
 
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Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.

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