The Homestead Choirs will present their 23rd Annual Benefit Concert on Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 7:00 P.M. The program will feature choral music from the Classical period, featuring some of the great names of the era including F.J. Haydn, W.A. Mozart, J.M. Haydn, as well as hymn tunes from the American Colonies of this time by William Billings and Abraham Wood.
Providing contrast to these composers of Western art music, the Camerata will perform a "classic" ballad in a vocal jazz arrangement. The first half of the program will also include a moment to honor the choir’s graduating class of 2011 as well as a performance of the traditional Castaway, a work that was specially commissioned for the Homestead High School graduation ceremonies.
Excerpts from a major choral-orchestral work will be featured in the second half of the 2011 Benefit program: the Franz Joseph Haydn oratorio, The Creation. The HHS Choirs will be joined by members of the HHS Chamber Orchestra and three guest artists. This year's guest artists are all public school music teachers who also have an active performing career. Erica Breitbarth, soprano, teaches choirs at Reagan High School in MPS and is a 2005 alumnus of Homestead High School. Raymond Roberts, tenor, teaches choirs at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, also in the Milwaukee Public Schools. Walt Boyer, bass, teaches elementary music in the Shorewood School District. The Haydn oratorio was the focus of this year’s HHS Choir-Chamber Retreat, held in March.
Tickets are $10 at the door. Proceeds from this concert support the entire choral program, provide numerous enrichment experiences for all HHS choir students, and provide partial scholarships for choral students who wish to attend summer music camps. The Benefit funds also assist in bringing professional musicians to work with the Homestead choirs throughout the school year.
Erica Breitbarth, Soprano, is an active vocalist, pianist, choral conductor and music educator in the Milwaukee area. She holds a degree in Music Education from the Wheaton Conservatory of Music. As a soloist, she was selected as finalist in the Wisconsin Civic Music Association Competition and the Illinois Chapter NATS auditions. In 2008, Erica was the winner of the Wheaton Conservatory Vocal Concerto Competition. As a student of conducting under Dr. Paul Wiens, Erica served as honors conductor and soprano section leader of the Wheaton College Concert Choir. Recently, she has performed as a guest artist with the Bach Chamber Choir of Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Messiah Community Chorus. A strong advocate for music education, Erica worked with BuildaBridge International in Philadelphia, an organization that brings the arts to into the lives of urban youth in the United States and around the world. She has also worked with young musicians as a children’s choir director and musical theater instructor. Erica is also an active church musician at Eastbrook Church in Milwaukee. Currently, Erica serves as choir director and chair of the music department at Ronald Reagan College Prep High School in the Milwaukee Public Schools. Erica is a Homestead alumna of the class of 2005. She credits much of her love for choral music and chosen career path to her rich experiences in the Homestead Choral Music program.
Raymond Roberts, Tenor, is the Director of Vocal Music at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, where he has taught since 1991. Mr. Roberts is a graduate of the Booker T. Washington High School of the Arts in Dallas, TX and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University. He is also active in the Milwaukee music community, having held the position of Assistant Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus, Director of the Plymouth Concert Chorale, and Tenor soloist at Immanuel Presbyterian Church. He currently co-directs the Music Ministry at First United Methodist Church- West Allis with his wife, Alyssa. He has also performed as Tenor soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Bel Canto Chorus, and the Bach Chamber Chorus. Roberts was also seen in the role of Normanno in the Skylight Opera Theater production of Lucia di Lammermoor. Mr. Roberts' students have been recognized nationally by such institutions as the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts and the NAACP ACT-SO scholarship competition. His choirs from Milwaukee High School of the Arts have performed at numerous state and regional music conferences as well as with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Raymond has received recognition from the Wisconsin Choral Director's Association as an Outstanding Young Conductor. He also received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the United States Department of Education for his work with a student who was named a Presidential Scholar in the arts. He was featured in a 2008 cover story in Choral Director Magazine and received the Civic Music Association Excellence in Choral Music Award in 2009.
Walter Boyer, Baritone, has enjoyed a variety of solo opportunities in the greater Milwaukee area. Highlights include appearances with the Milwaukee Symphony under the direction of Doc Severinsen, Margaret Hawkins, Lee Erickson and Jack Everly. Walt teaches music at Atwater Elementary in Shorewood and has served on the Milwaukee Children’s Choir board of directors. He has also been an MCC concert narrator and guest conductor. Mr. Boyer was honored as the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee’s Outstanding Elementary Music Teacher in 2006. For the past 26 years Walt had the joy of singing in the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus as a member of its Professional Core.
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