The Summer Singers’ season features timeless music, texts

MINNEAPOLIS – The Summer Singers will give two full concerts in Minneapolis and one in St. Paul, plus a family concert at Como Zoo as part of their 22nd season.

The ensemble, described as “an exceptional chamber choir, a kind of all-star team of top local choral singers,” by Rob Hubbard of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in 2016, is an a cappella choral group of 25 singers drawn from the ranks of Twin Cities choirs large and small. This year’s concert series, which will be held from July 23-30, will feature pieces from the renaissance era to modern day which incorporate classic texts, including the winner of The Summer Singers’ annual young composers competition.

The 2017 concert series, titled Timeless, features music that is as old as 500 years and as new as 2015 and 2017, all set to older texts. For example, the piece Unicornis Captivatur was written by Ola Gjeilo in 2001 from part of the Engelberg Codex, which was completed around the year 1400.

Admission for all concerts by The Summer Singers is free. A free-will offering will be accepted.

The group is in its fifth season under the leadership of artistic director Dr. Russell Adrian. Adrian, who holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Conducting from the University of Minnesota, said: “Particularly in choral music, we have the opportunity to make text and music come to life that was written hundreds of years ago.

“These words and notes have stood the test of time and proven through generations to be high quality works of art. In addition, when we perform or listen to music, it is easy to become lost in the lush textures, harmonies, and melodies that a cappella music provides and, in a sense, become timeless.”

The concert schedule (details and directions):

  • Sunday, July 23, at St. Mary’s Chapel on the campus of the St. Paul Seminary, 2260 Summit Ave., St. Paul, 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 27, at Lake Nokomis Lutheran Church, 5011 S. 31st Ave., Minneapolis, 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 30, at St. Mary’s Chapel, 4 p.m.

The family concert will be held at Como Zoo on Saturday, July 22, and is aimed primarily at young families and younger audiences. Admission to Como Zoo is free, keeping with The Summer Singers’ mission of providing a cappella music free of charge.

Timeless will also include the world premiere of Eli, Eli. The piece was written by Bowling Green State University graduate student and Thief River Falls, Minn., native Brianna Drevlow. Drevlow, a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., was named the winner of The Summer Singers’ third annual young composers’ competition.

In 2013, The Summer Singers were recognized as one of the Top Ten Classical performances of the year by the  St. Paul Pioneer Press. The group has been featured on several Taste of the Holidays CD releases by MPR, and is regularly heard on MPR’s Classical Choral Stream. For more information, visit The Summer Singers’ website at

The full concert rep follows: 

This is why we sing: Joshua Shank
Avoonan dbishmayya: Ilyas Iliya
Eli, Eli: Brianna Drevlow
Versa est in luctum: Alonso Lobo
Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe: Heinrich Schütz
Christus Est Stella: Will Todd
Alleluia: Jake Runestad
Gloria in excelsis Deo: Thomas Weelkes
Hymn of Ancient Lands: Joseph Twist
Into Thy Hands: Jonathan Dove
Aeternam: Bernat Vivancos
Unicornis Captivatur: Ola Gjeilo