December's 'All Is Calm' will be the last for Cantus

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 28, 2014 - 11:11 AM

The vocal ensemble announced a 2014-15 season, along with news of the departure of some longtime members.

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"All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914"

Photo: George Byron Griffiths, Dml - � George Byron Griffiths

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Cantus has revealed that next December will be the vocal ensemble’s last hurrah with “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” Cantus developed the piece with Theater Latté Da’s Peter Rothstein in 2007. It has become a staple of the Twin Cities holiday season, with performances at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis.

Rothstein said the show will continue with a retooled look in 2015.

“I plan to cast a group of actor/singers, so the show will be redesigned and restaged to have a more integrated aesthetic,” he said. “I feel blessed to have had Cantus give birth to this work.”

Cantus spokesman Aaron Humble said that after seven years, it’s time to move on.

“We had never done a show two years in a row, so ‘All Is Calm’ was the first program we repeated year to year,” Humble said. “We have our own Christmas with Cantus program in December, and we had weeks without a day off, so that limited the repertoire we were able to do.”

The Cantus season kicks off in October with a program of anthems in five locations around the Twin Cities area (Oct. 16-26).

Cantus will sing five Christmas concerts this year (Dec. 11-15). “All Is Calm” follows those performances (Dec. 17-21). The show uses letters, diaries and official documents to tell the story of Christmas 1914, when Allied and German soldiers declared a truce. Cantus sings more than 20 carols and patriotic songs arranged by Eric Lichte and Tim Takach, both formerly with Cantus.

Next March, Cantus will return with “The Singing Revolution: Songs of the Baltic Awakening.” The program, with five performances (March 12-22), was inspired by the 1989 peaceful revolution in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that resulted in freedom from the Soviet Union. Contemporary accounts document the role of centuries-old music traditions in the revolt.

The season concludes with Cantus covering popular music of the past 50 years (June 5-13, 2015).

Significant personnel changes are in the cards for the nine-member Cantus lineup. Adam Reinwald, the stout baritone who introduced “All Is Calm” each year, is leaving after 17 years. Reinwald will be a stay-at-home dad. (“Touring hasn’t allowed me to be home a lot,” he said.) He’ll also teach, conduct and sing with the National Lutheran Choir and the Apollo Male Chorus.

Tenor Gary Ruschman, in his 10th season, will return to the operatic and concert circuit. He said he also will write and record his own music. He has sung solo with the Boston Pops and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and teaches voice at the Mount Calvary Academy of Music in Excelsior.

“It’s a milestone moment for me,” said Ruschman, whose rendition of “O Holy Night” was an “All Is Calm” highlight.

Tenor David Walton leaves after three seasons to pursue an opera career and build up his voice studio.

The three will be replaced by Matthew Goinz, a baritone from Bemidji, and tenors Zachary Colby of Crown Point, Ind., and Blake Morgan of Detroit.

More information on the season is at 612-435-0055 or www.cantussings.org.

Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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