Acappellago presents the winners of its first composition contest for area college students. Pictured are David DeVasto (from left) of Elmhurst College, Michael Barrera, Alec Dickson and John Moran, all students at Elmhurst College, and Victoria Linich, music director of Acappellago.
Acappellago presents the winners of its first composition contest for area college students. Pictured are David DeVasto (from left) of Elmhurst College, Michael Barrera, Alec Dickson and John Moran, all students at Elmhurst College, and Victoria Linich, music director of Acappellago.

BATAVIA – Acappellago will perform "Escape to … A Winter Wonderland" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook and at 4 p.m. Dec. 8 in the Congregational Church of Batavia.

The winter journey will feature songs that celebrate the season: snow, ice, toboggans, holiday decorations, shopping and Christmas, the news release stated. The a cappella ensemble will present an eclectic range of music – from Debussy to Irving Berlin to Fleet Foxes and Gordon Lightfoot. The concert will include familiar pieces from composers and arrangers such as Vince Guaraldi, Meredith Willson, Irving Berlin, Abbie Burt Betinis and ensemble supporter Robert Convery.

Now in its 18th season, Acappellago is a leading volunteer a cappella chorus in the western suburbs, whose programming spans classical music, jazz, pop and gospel under the direction of its new music director, Victoria Linich. She succeeds the founding director, now Director Emeritus Dennis Smith, who founded the group in 2002.

Linich has been an alto with the ensemble since 2007, a frequent soloist at concerts, and the composer or arranger of many of the ensemble's favorite numbers. She has extensive experience as a professional soloist and choral singer, and is music director at the Congregational Church of Batavia.

As a special part of the program, the ensemble will present the winner of its first composition contest for area college students. Michael Barrera, a senior studying music performance and composition at Elmhurst College, will be honored. His composition, "Star of the East," will have its world premiere at both concerts. He plays in the college wind ensemble, the Philharmonic Orchestra and many other groups on campus.

Other award recipients also will be honored at the Oak Book concert. The second-place winner is Ethan Jankowski, a sophomore composition student at Elmhurst College, who is studying music in New Zealand. His goal is to write music that breaks the boundaries of traditional chamber and concert music, employing techniques not seen in standard programming.

An honorable mention goes to Alec Dickson, a composer and audio engineer who started his musical career at the College of DuPage and has now found a home at Elmhurst College. An honorable mention also goes to John Moran, an established guitarist, recently featured in the October edition of Chicago Guitarist. He intends to complete his formal education at Elmhurst College.

Special thanks go to Professor David DeVasto of Elmhurst College and Debbie Venezia of Arts DuPage for their mentoring and support during the process.

If you go

WHAT: Acappellago concerts

WHERE: Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oak Brook, and Congregational Church of Batavia, 21 S. Batavia Ave.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in Oak Brook and 4 p.m. Dec. 8 in Batavia

COST: $17 for adults, $15 for students and seniors

INFO: 708-762-3140, acappellago.org

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