Chicago, Ill. Windy City Performing Arts (WCPA), the not-for-profit parent organization of Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire, is proud to announce its 41st annual holiday concert, Let there be Light: A virtual concert experience, which will air free to all viewers on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. CT over Facebook and YouTube.
Following COVID-19's interruption of WCPA's 40th anniversary season and the cancellation of its planned appearance in July at the Gay and Lesbian Association (GALA) of Choruses Festival where it was to be recognized as one of the longest-operating LGBTQ+ choruses in the nation, the ensemble has responded to the pandemic by finding new ways to entertain audiences and resurrect its long-standing reputation for an outstanding holiday choral concert.
"This has been an incredibly challenging year for every vocal ensemble," said WCPA Artistic Director William Southerland. "The safety and health of our members and our patrons is our highest priority. Keeping everyone safe was a key factor in deciding how our choruses could continue to serve the Chicagoland community our goal, of course, being to do that without risking anyone's health."
With a desire to provide safe entertainment for musicians and patrons back in August, the organization charted a new course for its 41st season that will culminate with its upcoming virtual concert, Let there be Light.
"As thousands of shoppers head for their couch; taking their holiday shopping safely into the digital marketplace, we're excited to help them celebrate the holidays from the safety of their homes," said WCPA Board Chair Sarah Wonnell. "Offering an alternative to our traditional concert in DePaul University's Gannon Concert Hall allows us to showcase the incredible talent of our choruses, overcome the limitations of the pandemic and offer long-standing and new members of our audience the chance to hear an exciting holiday concert presented by an exceptional community chorus from the safety of their living rooms."
Southerland and Wonnell will host a virtual Talk Back session following the concert, which will allow viewers to interact with them, as well as members of the chorus and the online technical crew.
"Creating a compelling digital experience takes a lot of voices and a lot of technical expertise," said Southerland. "This type of show especially since we're doing it for the first time involved a lot of learning for our chorus members, as well as our technical and administrative volunteers. All in, I'm confident the entire organization will be very proud of the concert we're planning to share."
The concert will include a blend of freshly recorded songs featuring both choruses and soloists, digitally mastered and visually edited to lift spirits and embrace the warmth of the holiday season without any traffic or parking hassle.
"Let There Be Light: A Virtual Concert Experience"
Saturday, Dec. 19, at 7 p.m. CT
Donations to help WCPA continue to offer outstanding choral singing in the Chicagoland community are always welcome and may be made by visiting WCPA online at windycitysings.org .
About William Southerland, Ph.D.
Dr. William Southerland joined WCPA following a seven-year run as artistic director for Triad Performing Arts in Greensboro, N.C., where he directed roughly 80 volunteer singers across the organization's three ensembles: Triad Pride Women's Chorus, Triad Pride Men's Chorus, and the small ensemble, Counterpoint.
Southerland holds a bachelor's degree in music from Florida State University, a master's degree in choral conducting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNC Greensboro), and a doctorate in music education from UNC Greensboro, where he presented his dissertation, Factors of Motivation to Participation in LGBTQ-Identified Choruses. His background includes certifications in professional music training and service capacities, conducting and performing roles, and teaching and advising positions across the southern U.S.
About Windy City Performing Arts
Windy City Performing Arts (WCPA) was incorporated in 1983 as the independent not-for-profit umbrella organization for Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire. Windy City Performing Arts sings to inspire change, celebrate diversity, and honor the dignity of the LGBTQ+ community. WCPA can be found online at windycitysings.org .