For the 2016 – 2017, the CBA Chorus will be directed
by our three Chorus Director Candidates:
Chorus Director Candidate
Concert: Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Handel, Faure & Mahler
Stephen Blackwelder is currently Music Director of the
Waukegan Symphony and Director of the DePaul Community Chorus. Previous
positions include Music Director of the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra and
numerous civic and educational orchestral, opera, and choral ensembles
in the greater Chicago area. As a professional singer, he performed
frequently under conductors James Levine, Robert Shaw, Sir Georg Solti,
Claudio Abbado and Margaret Hillis while a member of the Chicago
Symphony Chorus and the Aspen Chamber Choir. He served on the conducting
staff of the Harford Opera Theater of Baltimore, Hinsdale Opera, Opera
Illinois, Opera da Corneto and Chicago Opera Theater and also on the
faculties of Lake Forest College, East Carolina University and DePaul
Blackwelder holds a BM from the University of North Carolina (1978) and
a MM from Northwestern University (1979). Professional study included
four seasons with the Aspen Music Festival and conducting master classes
with Sir Georg Solti, Max Rudolf and Erich Leinsdorf.
Chorus Director Candidate
Concert: Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Christopher Windle is the Concert Choir Conductor and an
Instructor with the Department of Music at Benedictine University in
Lisle, IL. Additionally, he is an adjunct instructor at Northwestern
University’s Beinen School of Music in Evanston, IL. Additionally,
Windle serves as the Assistant Choirmaster of the Church of the
Atonement in Chicago, IL, where he conducts the Schola, Atonement Choir,
and St. Cecilia Choir. Each week, these choirs sing a different choral
mass setting, motets, and chant.
In previous seasons, Windle has conducted and prepared choirs for
numerous and diverse organizations. These include Singing City in
Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Find Your Instrument! in
Philadelphia, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Northfield Youth
Choirs, Temple University, and Northwestern University's choral and
opera departments. Windle served for two years as the Assistant Director
of Music Ministry at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, SD. Here, he
helped lead a music program of over 200 musicians. He conducted four
choirs with singers of ages 10-80, a handbell choir, flute choir, and
Windle continues to sing professionally in choirs throughout the
country. During the 2015-2016 season, he sang with Chicago’s Music
of the Baroque, the Aestas Consort, the William Ferris Chorale, and
Schola Laudis, a professional group specializing in early liturgical
music. Previous ensembles have included The Crossing (Philadelphia), the
Choir of St. Clement’s Church in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia
Singers, the South Dakota Chorale, the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra
Chorus, and the St. Olaf Choir.
Currently, Windle is pursuing his Doctor of Musical Arts at Northwestern
University’s Bienen School of Music under Dr. Donald Nally. He
received his Bachelor of Music from St. Olaf College with Dr. Anton
Armstrong and his Master of Music from Temple University with Dr. Paul
Chorus Director Candidate
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Tchaikovsky and Vaughan Williams
Marek Rachelski enjoys a rich variety in his musical life as
conductor, pianist/harpsichordist and as collaborative artist in
recital. He has appeared with orchestras in the Czech Republic, Poland,
Germany, Hungary, Canada and the USA. Mr. Rachelski has served on the
faculties of Loyola University and De Paul University.
He is the Artistic Director of Musica Lumina Ensemble and
Conductor/Founder of the Niles Metropolitan Chorus. In four seasons the
NMC/ML has performed major works of the repertoire: Requiems of Mozart,
Faure, Rutter; the Magnificats of Pärt, Bach and Pergolesi;
Haydn’s Creation, Rossini’s Stabat Mater,
Mendelssohn’s Elijah, a yearly Handel’s Messiah, and the St.
John Passion of J. S. Bach (scheduled for April 2, 2017).
Previously, as Music Director of Opera Las Vegas he conducted complete
staged performances of Puccini’s La Bohème, Donizetti’s
L'elisir d'amore, Mollicone’s The Face on the Barroom Floor, a
Puccini 150th Retrospective and accompanied numerous aria recitals.
While in Nevada he was also the founder and conductor of the Las Vegas
Peoples Valley Chorus.
A composer of over 100 works, Marek is published with World Library and
M Gerard Publications. He was commissioned for a setting of Psalm 145
for the 1989 Papal Mass in Detroit and for a Magnificat by the Lira
Singers for their 25th Anniversary.
Marek holds degrees from Northwestern University, Wayne State University
and the Academy of Music in Prague HAMU.
Chorus Director Emeritus
Chorus Director Rebecca Patterson retired from directing the
Chicago Bar Association Chorus at the end of the 2015 - 2016 season
after directing the chorus from the date the chorus was started through
the next ten years.
Rebecca brought more than thirty years of professional experience to her
work with the Chicago Bar Association Chorus. As a soprano soloist, she
has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque,
and regional orchestras. In operatic performances she has portrayed such
diverse characters as Lauretta in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi,
Musetta in La Bohème, and Amahl in Menotti’s Amahl and the
As a choral musician, Rebecca has experience as both singer and
conductor. As a chorister she sang with The Chicago Symphony Chorus
under Margaret Hillis and the Grant Park Festival Chorus. In 2006
Rebecca led the CBA Chorus in rehearsals for its performance of
Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at Navy Pier. Since then, she has
prepared the chorus for performances of Fauré's Requiem,
Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s
Creation, Poulenc’s Gloria, Orff’s Carmina Burana,
Bruckner’s Te Deum and Brahms’ Requiem.
Visit Rebecca's web site at www.rebeccapatterson.com. We
wish Rebecca well in her future endeavors.
Well known among Chicago’s choral singers, Janet
Eckhardt has served as accompanist for numerous professional and
community choral groups and church and synagogue choirs. Currently an
adjunct faculty member at North Park University, Janet also serves as
staff accompanist at Moody Bible Institute. Prior to her appointment at
North Park, she taught piano at Seattle Pacific University. Janet is a
graduate of North Park University and the Hartt School of Music at the
University of Hartford.