This is Stephen Blackwelder’s first season as Director of the CBA Chorus. Choral music has always been an active component of Blackwelder’s musical life. He is currently Music Director of the Waukegan Symphony (since 2000) and Director of the DePaul Community Chorus (since 2005). Previous positions include Music Director of the Hinsdale Chamber Orchestra (1983-94) 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 University.
Blackwelder holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina (1978) and a Master of Music degree 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.
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.