Professor Amrein debuts vocal ensemble at May 3 concert in Chicago

Alaina Carlson ’11 and Ryan Meadors ’12 are two of twenty voices in the Peregrine Vocal Ensemble, a new Chicago-based group founded by Assistant Professor of Music Emilie Amrein, who also is the artistic director.

The ensemble began rehearsing last October. This Friday, May 3, they will hold their debut concert “Departures: The Path Appears” at 7:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Victory Church in Chicago.

“I love working with the musicians I work with,” said Carlson, who was a sophomore studying vocal performance at Lake Forest College when Amrein joined the faculty. “Emilie did a really great job in choosing the voices. Our first rehearsal, we sang together and it felt sort of effortless to create a really beautiful blend.”

“When Emilie said I was one of the first people she called, that really put a feather in my cap,” said Meadors, who is celebrating his third season as a soloist at Winnetka Presbyterian Church. “I love singing with Emilie. She is such a visionary and everything we undertake is always discussed and everybody’s input is always heard.”

The singers rehearsed about once a week for the fall semester with no particular purpose in mind. Before deciding in February that they wanted to hold a concert, they were “just seeing where the road would take us,” Amrein said.

Fitting, considering the name and core of the ensemble.

“‘Peregrine’ in Latin and Spanish means ‘pilgrim.’ I liked the idea of traveling and journey and exploration and wandering as something that could help define this group and the mission of the group, which is to tell stories,” Amrein said. “There are lots of great choirs in Chicago…but nobody is really thinking about programming in this narrative based way.”

Amrein found inspiration for the group’s title in the piece “Path of Miracles,” which is about El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route in Spain. The ensemble will perform the final movement of the hour-long a cappella work on May 3 and in full during their February concert.

“Emilie has chosen a really interesting, contemporary repertoire,” said Carlson, who also performs with the six-voice, all-female ensemble La Caccina.

The Peregrine Vocal Ensemble has four concerts planned for next season. Visit the group online for additional information and to purchase tickets. Tickets to the May 3 concert also will be sold at the door.