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America Fest


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This touring showcase of youth choirs from four countries, organized by an entity called the Alliance for Arts and Understanding, is the brainchild of Carol Stewart, a respected veteran church conductor from Iowa. Its intentions are laudable--introducing kids from various countries to one another's musical heritage--but does the confab amount to anything musically? From what I've heard, the choirs involved are almost on a par with the Vienna Boys' Choir: wellschooled dulcet voices with a focus on angelic expressiveness. The 35-strong Efroni Choir of Tel Aviv is reputedly the finest in Israel; the Shchedryk Choir from Kiev has long been recognized as the best of its kind in the former Soviet Union; and the Seattle Girls' Choir is definitely worthy of the first two groups' company. At both Chicago concerts, each choir will demonstrate its sound in a medley of classical, folk, and show tunes. At the Sunday recital, the three choruses will also combine forces on excerpts from Brahms's Psalm 13, Faure's Requiem, the Missa Brevis by Telfer, and a Ukrainian song celebrating peace and justice. In the folk-heavy, solidarity-minded Monday concert, the choirs will be joined by four local youth choruses to perform the haunting Prayer for World Peace; Shalom, the Jewish chant of farewell; and The Paintbox, a festival commission by Israeli composer Kobi Oshrat that--you guessed it!--also appeals for universal peace. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, Northwestern University, 1977 South Campus Dr., Evanston; 708-491-5441. Monday, 7:30 PM, Skyline Stage, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand; 791-7437.

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