(K a′ r I S)
Charis Chamber Voices is a choral ensemble known for excellent musicianship, vocal clarity, and a distinctively rich, warm sound. Founded in 1994 by Suzanne Peck, the group has attracted some of the finest amateur voices in Westchester County and has gained a devoted following in the metropolitan region. Dennis Keene, director of New York City’s renowned Voices of Ascension, has called Charis “the finest chorus in Westchester County.”
Charis presents diverse musical programs, including intimate a capella chamber pieces, major choral works with orchestra, and popular jazz tunes. Charis appeared with the Westchester-based orchestra Philharmonia Virtuosi when under the direction of the late Richard Kapp. The group has also participated in the Soclair Music Festival in Lebanon, New Jersey, and was a featured ensemble at the Dennis Keene Summer Choral Festival in Kent, Connecticut. Charis has also been invited to perform at Caramoor.
In addition to the extensive discography of live concert recordings, two additional recordings have been produced: Hoping It Might Be So, a selection of Christmas music including work from contemporary American composers, and From Sorrow Free, a collection of American songs from ranging from hymns of Colonial New England to original settings of 20th century poetry.
The group, in its tenth year under the artistic direction of Arthur Sjögren, is known for its diverse repertoire, unique blend of voices and captivating performances.
Rehearsing with Camerata Vocale Hannover of Germany for our
International Concert Series in 2016.
Translation of article published in Germany, Sept. 2016:
SUCCESSFUL PREMIERE – Charis Chamber Voices and Camerata Vocale make the audience enthusiastic! The Camerata Vocale directed by Hans-Dieter Reinecke and Charis Chamber Voices from New York directed by Arthur Sjögren invited us for a shared concert in the Marktchurch. The full church got an excellent demonstration of how choral music on the highest level works.
The Americans presented themselves first with some samples of their repertoire, ranging from the 16th century to contemporary music. A lot of choral conductors can only dream of this: how the group reacted on the unbelievably light and breathing beat of Arthur Sjögren: a very fresh and clear sound, singers listened to each other and adapted their volume so they could hear each other in balance. On top of that absolute precision, constant eye contact with the conductor and well balanced transitions from the mightiest forte to the softest piano. Sjögren also managed to make his group sound beautifully, adapting to every musical style.
The same goes for the Camerata Vocale conducted by Hans-Dieter Reinecke. Also with this group the rule applied: when a choir manages to transform the “hand-speech” of the conductor so intensely, then one can say the choir has class and grandeur. It also became clear that both choirs come from different traditions – the Camerata Vocale had a rounder, nearly romantic choral sound. For the last part of the concert the 2 choirs joined forces. Whether we refer to the beautiful interpretation of Mendelsohn’s Psalm 100 or to the Brahms“Warum ist das Licht,” or the slightly modern “Ave Maria” of Jeakko Mantyjarvi or the extremely succesfully brought Première of Fredrik Sixten’s “Seek Him” (commissioned by the 2 choirs from the composer who was present during the concert); this concert will be remembered as an extraordinary experience.
Letters from our audience...
March 8, 2015
To my Friends in Charis:
I have been coming to the Charis concerts since 1994 and have never been disappointed in the quality and sheer joy of listening to beautiful music. How lucky we are to have a group of chamber voices of your caliber in our community and performing at the Bedford Presbyterian Church with such wonderful acoustics.
How fortunate to have Maestro Arthur Sjögren who is such a renowned Choral Director with an outstanding reputation both here and abroad. The concert last night featuring Bach and Handel was flawless and I look forward to Charis’ Spring Concert on Saturday, May 2nd. I am one of your most loyal and enthusiastic supporters and I appreciate the time and effort you put into each concert to ensure perfection.
April 3, 2015
We have always thoroughly enjoyed the concerts presented by the Charis Chamber Voices. Their voices perfectly blend into a highly professional rendition of beautiful choral works.
In addition, Maestro Arthur Sjogren not only prepares an excellent program, but provides an introduction to each selection in which he explains its place in musical history and its relationship to the other works in the program.
Finally these concerts are presented in lovely intimate settings which personalize the entire evenings performance. We find that each Charis concert is inspirational and even transcendent.
Ted and Tracy