Mostly, he [Robert Russell] made the case for large-choir Bach in the most logical way – by giving a performance so robust, passionate and energized that even purists among the large audience had to ask themselves whether they’d really prefer it any other way. The big, slow choral chords that open the Kyrie, and the contrapuntal workout that follows, were thrilling enough to foreclose any historical quibbles, and the choir’s focus and beauty of tone remained consistent through the work, with the Sanctus and the closing Donna Nobis Pacem among the other highlights.
Kozinn, Allan (2018, March 26). Concert review: ChoralArt performs robust rendition of Bach’s Mass in B minor. Portland Press Herald.
Part of the attraction of ChoralArt’s annual “Christmas at the Cathedral” program is the deftness with which it balances freshness and predictability. You can count on certain touches – mainly, a format in which the choir opens and closes the concert in the aisles of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, with an expansive setting of “Silent Night” as the finale, instrumental support from the Portland Brass Quintet, and a sing-along section – but the main works change with each installment…The choir’s opening is always effective, particularly for listeners in the center pews, who are surrounded by choristers. Robert Russell, ChoralArt’s director, made the most of the antiphonal possibilities…
Kozinn, Allan (2017, December 3). Concert review: ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ blends old with the new. Portland Press Herald.
[Robert] Moody led the ChoralArt Masterworks choir, accompanied by organist Ray Cornils, in the Bates, a brief, gracefully harmonized movement from the composer’s more expansive “Sirens,” in an arrangement by Moody and P. Scott. The choir sang it with an appealing smoothness.
Kozinn, Allan (2017, October 23). Concert review: PSO celebrates Bernstein, but program also features other themes. Portland Press Herald.
The work is long, perhaps too long, and called for a massive effort on the part of both the orchestra and the ChoralArt Masterworks chorus. I have seldom heard the chorus sound as powerful.
Hyde, Christopher (2017, October 23). Concert review: A Powerful “Armed Man. Maine Classical Beat.
The ChoralArt Camerata, the organization’s 15-voice chamber choir, is its elite group, an assembly of singers who can hold their own as soloists, and often do, not only in the various ChoralArt groups, but in several other Portland choirs as well.
Kozinn, Allan (2017, May 8). Concert review: Passionate readings, powerful solo work highlight ChoralArt Camerata’s SpringSong. Portland Press Herald.
ChoralArt, one of the many first-rate choirs flourishing in Portland, has found a way to acknowledge both the modern and time-honored conceptions of the season. Its annual “Christmas at the Cathedral” concert kicked off the musical side of Christmas just 10 days after Thanksgiving. And on Sunday, the choir and its director, Robert Russell, marked the holiday season’s traditional end with “An Epiphany Celebration” at Williston-Immanuel United Church – two days late, but why quibble?
Kozinn, Allan (2017, January 9). Concert review: ‘ChoralArt Camerata’s ‘Epiphany Celebration’ a fitting end to the season. Portland Press Herald.
Robert Russell…has established several traditions for these concerts, and he honored them fully on Saturday. His programs are typically balanced between the purely devotional and the seasonally cheerful…The choral music, moreover, is juxtaposed with lively instrumental arrangements, played with energy and measures of both verve and finesse by the Portland Brass Quintet…
Kozinn, Allan (2016, December 4). Concert review: ‘Christmas at the Cathedral’ balances devotional, cheerful. Portland Press Herald.
The Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ and ChoralArt, formerly the Choral Art Society, have hired a Fulbright Scholar as their new executive director. Brooke Hubner, who worked as administrative coordinator for the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, replaces Kathleen Grammer, who left the organizations this summer…
Keyes, Bob (2016, October 19). Kotzschmar friends and ChoralArt hire a new executive director. Portland Press Herald.
Emotional tugs of war of this sort, with the human spirit as the battleground, are typical in theater, opera and film, but there is nothing in choral music that inherently precludes creating such a striking effect. It’s just a matter of finding the right combination of works…
Kozinn, Allan (2016, October 17). Concert review: Despair and love make two parts of ChoralArt show. Portland Press Herald.
What I love about choral music is that folks with pretty good voices can unite and produce a remarkable product. It’s stunning to me what amateur singers can accomplish with attention to detail…
— Robert Russell
Scott, Stan (2015, September). Releasing the Spiritual: An Interview with Robert Russell. Choral Journal, 59–62.
Music can unlock memories that we may have otherwise lost. This past spring, the Choral Art Society (CAS) of Maine presented Time Remembered — Time Forgotten, the New England premiere of Alzheimer’s Stories, to create awareness of the link between music and memory. Today we speak with CAS board member & vocal soloist Andrea Graichen, program director for the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter, William Kirkpatrick, about this interesting collaboration.