Press Release: WICKER PARK CHORAL SINGERS NAMES A.J. KELLER AS NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
For Immediate Release
June 3, 2019
CHICAGO – Earlier this year Wicker Park Choral Singers’ founder and Artistic Director, Mark Tomasino, announced he will step down from his role as Artistic Director at the end of their 11th season which concluded Sunday June 2, 2019. After a 4-month long search and interview process, which included candidates from all over the world, the WPCS Board of Directors is excited to announce that the position of Artistic Director will be filled by conductor, A.J. Keller, a WPCS alumnus.
When accepting the position Keller shared, “I feel extraordinarily honored that Wicker Park Choral Singers have entrusted me with the responsibility of steering this ship for the next leg of their journey. It's been inspiring seeing Mark Tomasino take WPCS from their grassroots beginnings to the stellar and stable arts organization they've become. About a decade ago, as a music teacher hungry for enriching singing opportunities in Chicago, WPCS took me in and allowed me to be a part of their musical community as a singer, and I'm excited to be able to give back — to do whatever I can to help Chicagoans share their voices with their community, and to explore some fantastic choral music that may help us demystify some of the complexities of the human experience. I look forward to starting this new chapter with WPCS, and I can't wait to get started.”
A.J. Keller started his music studies in 2004 at Illinois Wesleyan University under J. Scott Ferguson. In 2014 he received his Master of Music, Choral Conducting degree from Northwestern University and is currently there completing his Doctor of Musical Arts, Choral Conducting degree. His main teacher and mentor is Donald Nally, Northwestern’s Director of Choral Organizations and Founder and Conductor of the Grammy-Award Winning professional choir, The Crossing. A.J. is heavily involved in the Chicago choral community and has worked with Chicago Opera Theater, North Park University choral department, and is currently Director of Music at Glencoe Union Church. As a champion of new music by living composers, A.J. has also created a Chicago-based choral project called Stare at the Sun which had its inaugural performance last year. Beyond Chicago he has served as the Visiting Assistant Chorus Master of the New York Philharmonic helping prepare a 200-voice male chorus for the world premiere of David Lang’s opera Prisoner of the State. Earlier this year he served as Visiting Conductor of Ensemble Edge in Denmark.
ABOUT Wicker Park Choral Singers
Wicker Park Choral Singers is an all-volunteer choir with a mission to build community through choral music. WPCS has performed in spaces throughout Chicago including the Chicago Cultural Center, Fourth Presbyterian Church on the Magnificent Mile, St. Vincent de Paul Church, Garfield Park Conservatory and outdoors in venues like Millennium Park, The 606 Trail, Wicker Park, and the Humboldt Park Boathouse. The group has even gone over the airwaves reaching millions of households through TV, radio, and internet on Chicago Fox Morning News, WFMT 98.7, WGN Holiday specials, and even the Oprah show. WPCS is always striving to expand the choral art form and explore sounds that reflect what we are living today by commissioning up-and-coming composers, performing nine world premieres of new choral works. The group is also dedicated to building community with other Chicago choirs and has begun a new concert series, ChicagoSings Showcase, that features various choirs from around the city with the goal of expanding audiences and sharing resources to make the choral community stronger. Wicker Park Choral Singers is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. You can find more information at www.wickerparksings.org.
Please contact General Manager Stephanie Malmquist with any questions at email@example.com