Madison Chorale begins holiday concert season

Shows in Bloomfield Hills Dec. 12, Madison Heights Dec. 13

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published December 8, 2015

MADISON HEIGHTS — Now under new leadership in their 42nd season, the men and women of the Madison Chorale are preparing for their annual holiday concerts this Saturday and Sunday.

They’re also in a “rebuilding year,” with their membership having dipped from around 30 members earlier this year to around 20. But they say their sound will be as robust as ever.

“We lost some members for various reasons, but you can do as well with 20 members as you can with 30 as you can with four,” said Brenda Braidwood, a soprano with the Madison Chorale. “Everyone steps up to be a leader in their own way.”

The holiday concerts, called “Sing of Christmas,” will take place on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the Congregational Church of Birmingham, 1000 Cranbrook Road in Bloomfield Hills, and on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of Madison Heights, 246 E. 11 Mile Road in Madison Heights. The Saturday performance will also feature the talented Shrine Catholic High School Goliards.

Pre-show tickets cost $12 for adults, and $10 for students 18 and younger and for seniors 65 and older. All tickets at the door cost $15. Pre-show tickets can be purchased by calling (248) 399-5953 or online at www.madisonchorale.org.

The Madison Chorale is a nonprofit group of vocalists that serenade audiences in both public and private outreach performances. Its main concerts are around the holidays and in the spring. It is an auditioned, intergenerational group that includes men and women from Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

The chorale covers many genres: classical, blues, ragtime, romance, show tunes and other styles. Past performances have included the “Richard Rodgers Anthology,” Bach’s “Magnificat,” Bernstein’s “Chichister Psalm” and the Fauré Requiem. 

Back in April, during the spring concerts, the Madison Chorale was under the leadership of music director Noah Horn, who participated in the final rounds of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” performing with the group 3Penny, conducted by his wife. He now serves as the director of chorale activities at Wayne State University.

Taking over for Horn this season is Chancellor Wyman, previously the group’s accompanist.

“We’re hoping he might take a full-time position with us. Right now he’s interim, and in fairness we will audition others (for music director), but he’s doing a great job so far and everyone is very pleased with him,” said Joe Machiniak, president of the Madison Chorale. “Chancellor brings a new twist to things, and I think we’re sounding better because of his direction.”

Braidwood said the selection of Wyman for the interim position was a quick decision.

“He’s very amicable, witty and funny, and he’s very knowledgeable,” Braidwood said. “He interprets music well as to how it should sound. He’s versatile and open to new ideas.”

Wyman is not afraid to experiment either. One piece in “Sing of Christmas” is the classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which Wyman decided to rearrange for the concert.

Other songs include “The Angel Gabriel,” sung by the women; “In the Bleak Mid-Winter,” sung by the men; and “Light the Candles,” “Hallelujah Chorus” and “Sing We Now of Christmas.” The group will be backed by piano, bass guitar and percussion. The new accompanist is Rachel Morin, taking over for Wyman.

The Madison Chorale kicked off its holiday season earlier this month with community outreach performances at the Village of Royal Oak Senior Living Center in Royal Oak and St. Anne’s Mead Assist Living Facility in Southfield.

The chorale will also be giving its individual members a chance to shine as soloists during a performance the day before Valentine’s Day at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Royal Oak.

The group is always looking for new members of all ages. Some of the members date back to the group’s founding in 1973. It’s a tight-knit group that meets once a week on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Wilkinson Middle School at John R and 11 Mile.

“We always welcome new people,” Braidwood said.