Phoenix Chorale Upcoming Season


TED: THE GRAMMY AWARD WINNING PHOENIX CHORALE IS CONSIDERED ONE OF THE BEST VOCAL ENSEMBLES IN THE WORLD, AND THIS YEAR MARKS THE CHORAL E'S 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF SONG. ♪

TED: HERE NOW TO TELL US ABOUT THE PHOENIX CHORALE'S UPCOMING SEASON IS JEN ROGERS, THE CHORALE'S PRESIDENT AND CEO, AND ALISON CHANEY, A SOPRANO IN THE CHORALE. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE.

GUESTS: THANK YOU.

TED: NICE TO HAVE YOU. BEAUTIFUL, JUST ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. WHAT IS THE PHOENIX CHORALE?

ROGERS: THE PHOENIX CHORALE IS A PROFESSIONAL CHOIR, 28 SINGERS. IT HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE 1958. WE ARE CELEBRATING OUR 60TH SEASON THIS YEAR. AND WE ARE A GRAMMY-WINNING ENSEMBLE.

TED: YES, ENSEMBLE AND RESIDENTS OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH; IS THAT TRUE?

ROGERS: THAT'S RIGHT.

TED: ALL PROFESSIONAL SINGERS, RIGHT? THIS IS NO FOOLING AROUND HERE.

CHANEY: THAT'S RIGHT. WE’RE ALL PROFESSIONAL SINGERS, BUT I THINK THOUGH WE ARE PAID, WE ALSO CONSIDER IT A PRIVILEGE TO BE IN THIS GROUP. IT IS SUCH A REMARKABLE ENSEMBLE OF PEOPLE WITH A LOT OF HEART, AND WE COME TOGETHER AND SING AS A LOCAL GROUP OF MUSICIANS, AND REALLY MAINTAIN A BEAUTIFUL CONSISTENT SOUND AS A RESULT OF THAT.

TED: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE CHORALE?

CHANEY: THIS IS MY 12TH SEASON, UNBELIEVABLY. SO 12 SEASONS. IT HAS GONE BY SO FAST, BUT IV’E LEARNED SO MUCH AND GAINED SO MUCH FROM BEING A PART OF THE ENSEMBLE.

TED: IS THERE MUCH TURNOVER IN THE VOCALISTS IN THE ENSEMBLE? BECAUSE I IMAGINE EVENTUALLY SOMEONE LEAVES AND YOU GOT TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO REPLACE THEM.

ROGERS: THERE IS SOME TURNOVER. I MEAN LIFE HAPPENS, BUT REALLY, IT'S THE KIND OF THING -- IF YOU MANAGE TO GET INTO THE CHOIR, A LOT OF PEOPLE WILL KIND OF SHAPE THEIR LIVES TO BE ABLE TO STAY IN PHOENIX.

TED: I WOULD IMAGINE. LET’S SAY THERE IS AN OPENING. HOW DO YOU FILL THAT SPOT? WHAT IS THE AUDITION PROCESS?

ROGERS: WE ACTUALLY HAVE PEOPLE REACH OUT TO US OVER THE COURSE OF THE SEASON AND THEY ASK ABOUT AUDITIONS, AND WE USUALLY DO AUDITIONS IN THE SUMMER.

TED: HOW DID YOU BECOME A PART-HOW DID THAT WORK FOR YOU?

CHANEY: I MOVED FROM MICHIGAN, AND I HEARD ABOUT THIS GREAT CHOIR, AND I SHOWED UP FOR THE SUMMER AUDITIONS. AND IT WAS A LITTLE STRESSFUL, WE HAD TO SITE READ AND I WAS GIVEN A VERY DIFFICULT PIECE TO SITE READ, AND HAD TO SING A NUMBER OF SOLO PIECES AS WELL, SO VERY STRESSFUL AUDITION.

TED: DID YOU THINK YOU PASSED?

CHANEY: I WAS TOLD AT THE VERY END THAT I PASSED, YES. SO THAT WAS GOOD. I DIDN'T HAVE TO GO HOME WONDERING.

TED: AND THERE IS THAT COMRADERY ISN’T THERE? AND THAT’S IMPORTANT FOR AN ENSEMBLE.

ROGERS: ABSOLUTELY. ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT THE CONSISTENCY OF THE SINGERS THAT ARE IN THE GROUP YEAR AFTER YEAR, THEY SING TOGETHER, THEY WORK TOGETHER, THEY HAVE BARBECUES TOGETHER, THEY RAISE THEIR KIDS TOGETHER, AND THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT REALLY MAKE US- THIS CHOIR- SO SPECIAL AND UNIQUE. IT IS A CHOIR MADE OF PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN OUR COMMUNITY.

TED: NOW HOW MANY TIMES DOES THE CHORALE PERFORM LIVE IN A YEAR?

ROGERS: USUALLY WE DO FOUR DIFFERENT PROGRAMS EACH YEAR. WE REPEAT EACH CONCERT ABOUT THREE TIMES SO IT'S SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 14 -- THIS YEAR WE HAVE AN EXTRA PROGRAM, BECAUSE WE'RE DOING OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SEARCH SO WE HAVE FIVE PROGRAMS THIS YEAR.

TED: WHAT DOEST THAT MEAN- ARTISTIC DIRECT--WHY AN EXTRA ONE FOR THAT?

ROGERS: WE’RE IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR ARTISTIC DIRECTOR SEARCH. OUR CONDUCTOR OF 18 YEARS DECIDED TO RETIRE, SO WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF LOOKING FOR OUR NEXT CONDUCTOR. SO WE HAD AN INTERNATIONAL SEARCH. WE HAD 50 QUALIFIED CANDIDATES APPLY. WE NARROWED THAT DOWN TO FOUR, AND FOUR ROSE TO THE TOP, AND SO WE’VE INVITED THEM TO COME OUT, AND THEY ARE GOING TO CONDUCT.

TED: CAN YOU TELL THE DIFFERENCE – I MEAN OBVIOUSLY YOU CAN, BUT HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE? BECAUSE WE'RE SITTING OUT THERE, WE’RE LISTENING TO THE MUSIC, WE’RE NOT WATCHING THIS… THERE IS A BIG DIFFERENCE, ISN’T THERE IN CONDUCTORS FOR A SINGER?

CHANEY: ABSOLUTELY. IT’S A VAST DIFFERENCE. AND WE HAVE ALREADY HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH SOME GUEST CONDUCTORS IN LAST SEASON, AND JUST TO SEE THE DIFFERENCES IN PROGRAMMING AND THE APPROACH. THEIR CONDUCTING GESTURES ARE DIFFERENT. THE REHEARSAL PROCESS IS DIFFERENT, SO FOR US AS SINGERS THIS IS AN EXCITING SEASON, BECAUSE WE HAVE REALLY A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF US TO BE WORKING WITH ACTUALLY FIVE DIFFERENT CONDUCTORS WITH REALLY FANTASTIC REPUTATIONS AND VERY DYNAMIC PERSONALITIES. AND SO THIS IS GOING TO BE FANTASTIC FOR ALL OF US.

TED: IS IT ALMOST LIKE ESP SOMETIMES WITH A CONDUCTOR, LIKE A LITTLE NUDGE HERE OR A LITTLE MOVE THERE, AND HE OR SHE IS TELLING YOU EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT.

CHANEY: THERE IS SOMETHING MAGICAL TO IT. NOT EVERYTHING COMES JUST FROM THEIR GESTURE, AND IT IS REALLY -- WHAT IS AMAZING IS WHEN 28 SINGERS COME TOGETHER AND SHAPE A PHRASE ALLTOGETHER IN JUST THE SAME WAY IN THE SAME MOMENT WITH A CONDUCTOR, IT'S SOMETHING REALLY EXHILARATING.

TED: WHEN THERE ARE FOUR OR FIVE PIECES A YEAR THAT YOU HAVE TO PERFORM AND SOMETIMES MORE THAN ONCE, HOW DIFFICULT IS THAT?

CHANEY: TO MAINTAIN CONSISTENCY IT IS HARD, AND WE ALSO HAVE A RECORDING REPUTATION. SO MAINTAINING THAT REALLY PURE PRISTINE SOUND FOR MULTIPLE PERFORMANCES IS SO IMPORTANT. AND ON THE THIRD PERFORMANCE WE’VE GOT TO BE JUST AS FRESH AS WE WERE ON THE FIRST ONW. AND SO AS A -- VOCALLY, WE ALSO HAVE TO KEEP OURSELVES IN GOOD SHAPE FOR THAT.

TED: THERE ARE SOME 20TH CENTURY PIECES, I WOULD IMAGINE THAT CAN BE PRETTY INTRICATE AND PRETTY CRAZY OUT THERE FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD.

CHANEY: UH-HUH.

TED: THOSE CAN BE DIFFICULT AS WELL.

CHANEY: MUSICALLY, ABSOLUTELY. SO WE DO SPEND A LOT OF TIME PREPARING BEFORE THE FIRST REHEARSAL AND THROUGH THE REHEARSAL PROCCESS REALLY REFINE THOSE PIECES.

TED: YOU MENTIONED THE RECORDING ASPECT OF ALL OF THIS. HOW MANY GRAMMY NOMINATIONS, HOW MANY GRAMMY WINS?

ROGERS: TEN NOMINATIONS AND THREE WINS.

TED: AND THE LATEST ONE WAS?

ROGERS: FOR BEST CHORALE PERFORMANCE AND THAT WAS FOR THE RACHMANINOFF ALL NIGHT VIGIL.

TED: AND BEFORE THAT -- WASN'T THE 2012 ONE -- THAT WAS -- AND THESE ARE – ALONG WITH THE RACHMANINOFF- THESE GO PRETTY HIGH ON THE BILLBOARD CLASSICAL CHARTS DON'T THEY?

ROGERS: YES, ACTUALLY THE ONE I THINK YOU ARE THINKING OF IS NORTHERN LIGHTS THAT WE RELEASED IN 2012, BUT, YES, SEVERAL WEEKS ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS AND ALSO WAS NAMED BY iTUNES ONE OF THEIR BEST CLASSICAL ALBUMS OF THE YEAR.

TED: NOW WE OBVIOUSLY UNDERSTAND HOW ACCOMPLISHED THIS VOCAL GROUP IS. WHAT DO YOU HEAR FROM FOLKS AROUND THE COUNTRY, FROM FOLKS AROUND THE WORLD? ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU TRAVEL?

ROGERS: WELL, I MEAN I LIVE IN THE MUSIC WORLD AND IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, AND WHAT I HEAR ESPECIALLY RIGHT NOW IS JUST A LOT OF EXCITEMENT ABOUT THIS POINT OF WHERE WE ARE IN OUR HISTORY AS AN ORGANIZATION, AND THERE IS A LOT OF EXCITEMENT ABOUT WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE THAT WE HAVE THESE FOUR CANDIDATES COMING HERE. IT'S KIND OF USUAL TO HAVE SUCH AN OPEN PROCCESS WHERE THE AUDIENCE GETS TO COME AND ACTUALLY SEE THE CONDUCTORS CONDUCT.

TED: WE HAVE TALKED TO OTHER PERFORMING ARTS ORGANIZATIONS HERE IN TOWN, AND WHEN THEY GO ON THE ROAD, PEOPLE THINK OH PHOENIX, TUMBLE WEEDS, ISN’T IT CUTE. AND ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY’RE BLOWN AWAY ABOUT WHAT THEY SEE AND HEAR. SAME THING FOR YOU GUYS?

ROGERS: I THINK ABOUT IN THE LAST 15 YEARS PHOENIX IS REALLY STARTED TO EMERGE AS AN ARTS AND CULTURE CITY. I THINK PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO REALLY SEE WHAT PHOENIX HAS TO OFFER.

TED: YEAH. AS FAR AS YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF MUSIC THAT YOU HAVE SUNG SO FAR SINCE YOU’VE BEEN WITH THE CHORALE?

CHANEY: WOW. I THINK PROBABLY THE GRETCHEN NINOFF WAS A WHOLE SERIES OF PIECES THAT WE RECORDED AND I THINK THE RUSSIAN MUSIC HAS PROBABLY BEEN ONE OF MY FAVORITES.

TED: WHY IS THAT? BECAUSE RUSSIAN MUSIC CAN BE VERY BOLD.

CHANEY: IT CAN BE, BUT IT CAN ALSO BE INCREDIBLY MEDITATIVE AND THE HARMONIES ARE JUST, THEY EBB AND FLOW. THEY ARE REALLY SO MAGNIFICENT.

TED: YEAH, THE RECORDINGS ARE JUST FANTASTIC. I MEAN YOU TALK ABOUT MEDITATIVE. YOU PUT SOME OF THIS STUFF ON- THE NORTHERN LIGHTS IS JUST ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO LOOK FOR FROM THE CHORALE THIS SEASON?

ROGERS: THIS SEASON. WELL, THAT’S OUR 60TH ANNIVERSARY, SO WE ARE CELEBRATING THAT. AND WE ARE DOING FIVE DIFFERENT PROGRAMS ALL OVER THE VALLEY. WE'RE SINGING IN TEMPE -- ACTUALLY WE'RE OPENING OUR SEASON IN TEMPE, WHICH IS PRETTY EXCITING, AND WE HAVE THESE -- I MEAN, THESE CONDUCTORS, WE CAN'T EXPRESS ENOUGH HOW EXCITING IT IS GOING TO BE TO GET TO SHARE IN THIS JOURNEY WITH EVERYONE.

TED: IT'S LIKE A GREATEST HITS FROM EACH INDIVIDUAL ONE, RIGHT?

ROGERS: YEAH.

TED: WELL GOOD LUCK WITH THAT. WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND OUT MORE?

ROGERS: PHOENIXCHORALE.ORG.

TED: PHOENIXCHORALE.ORG. ALL RIGHT WELL CONGRATULATIONS ON 60 YEARS. CONGRATULATIONS AS WELL FOR YOU, CONTINUED SUCCESS, AND THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING HERE.

CHANEY: THANK YOU.

TED: AND TUESDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON A SPECIAL HOUR-LONG EDITION AS THE TWO CANDITATES FOR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 3 FACE OFF. DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT CONGRESSMAN RAUL GRIJALVA AND HIS REPUBLICAN CHALLENGER, NICHOLAS PIERSON. THAT'S TUESDAY ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WATCH TONIGHT'S PROGRAM AGAIN OR MAYBE SEE WHAT WE HAVE STORE FOR FUTURE PROGRAMS, AND I GIVE YOU A HINT, THERE ARE A LOT OF DEBATES IN THERE. CHECK US OUT. AZPBS.ORG/HORIZON. THAT'S IT FOR NOW. I'M TED SIMONS. THANKS FOR JOINING US. YOU HAVE A GREAT EVENING.

We preview the upcoming season of the Phoenix Chorale with Jen Rogers, president and CEO of the chorale along with a performer from the group.

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Jen Rogers, president and CEO of the Phoenix chorale

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