The Midwest Motet Society is a chamber choir, based in the southern suburbs of Chicago. There is a whole repertoire of music not usually performed in our community and we believe it should be. The music we perform is a very specific kind–written for only a few voices on a part, such as madrigals and motets and even Bach Cantatas. Brahms wrote music for vocal quartets and piano and we have performed two of those works. With only a few voices on a part, each person and their voice is very important. There is a greater opportunity to really know the other singers and to react to them musically. As a chamber choir, we usually perform in smaller venues, such as churches or people’s homes. There is an intimacy not only with each other in our ensemble, but with our audience.
THE MIDWEST MOTET SOCIETY
The Midwest Motet Society was formed in the winter of 2006. With a mission to bring quality chamber choral music to Chicago’s Southland, the Midwest Motet Society is the only chamber ensemble performing this repertoire on a regular basis in the area.
Who are the members of the Midwest Motet Society?
There were eight founding members of the MMS. Current members come from the north to the south and west of our region and community and are all ages and from all walks of life. Many of the present members hold music degrees, work in the music business, have sung in other larger choruses in Chicago and the south suburbs or direct their own choirs. Some are retired and several are just beginning their careers. Most members sang in their high school and college choral programs or other community choral groups and miss singing music of this caliber.
Some have not sung this type of music before and want to grow in their musicianship. They have in common a love for serious, “meaty” chamber choral music.
How often does the Midwest Motet Society have concerts?
We have concerts twice a year, in the spring and the fall. In addition, the MMS has other opportunities to perform occasionally, such as fund raisers for the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra, a community Epiphany Festival, a summer Shakespeare festival or music for other holiday programs. Because of our size, we are very flexible and can sing with an orchestra—or with just a pitch pipe!
How can I join the Midwest Motet Society myself?
Auditions will be held several weeks before each concert cycle rehearsals begin. Call or e-mail to set up an audition appointment.
Just what is a “motet”?
The strict definition of a motet is an unaccompanied choral piece, based on sacred Latin texts to be used in a Roman Catholic worship service, usually Vespers. There are many exceptions to these “rules” and the great composers certainly knew how to break them! Early motets could be secular and serve a ceremonial purpose. Motets could be written for a solo voice, such as W.A. Mozart’s “Exultate Jubilate” and for accompanied choir, such as W.A. Mozart’s “Ave Verum”. Motets are still being written today and span the classical music eras.
The Midwest Motet Society chose its name to promote this “serious” choral music and yet, not be locked into any one style, since motets by nature can be almost anything! The MMS will not be singing only motets but a range of sacred and secular chamber choir music.
What is a Chamber Choir?
A chamber choir is a small choir with only one or two or three people on a vocal part, but it is still considered a choir. Think of a string quartet–there may be only one instrument on a part, but each one holds their own. With only a few voices on each part, each person and their voice is very important, there is a greater opportunity to really know the other singers and to react to them musically.