Lincoln-Way Area Chorale Purpose
It is the purpose of the Lincoln-Way Area Chorale to serve as an outlet to enrich and enhance musical opportunities for adults in the greater Lincoln Way area. We share our love of the vocal medium through practice and performance. We strive for excellence and professionalism in all aspects of our organization and believe in service to the community through the sharing of our talents and resources. If you are interested in joining us or want more information, please click here to contact us
Lincoln-Way Area Chorale History
During the summer of 1995 the staff of the Mokena, IL, Park District was looking for ways to expand their programs to the community, and the suggestion was made to sponsor the formation of a community choir. Some of the staffers had participated in the excellent choral programs at nearby Lincoln-Way High School, so they contacted their former choir director, Charles (Chuck) Stark, to see if he would be willing to direct an adult community chorale. Chuck had retired in 1991 after 25 years as Lincoln-Way’s choral director, having established the Lincoln-Way choral music program as one of the premier high school programs in state. Chuck agreed to give it a try, but only if they could get a large enough turnout to make it worthwhile. They scheduled a “call out” rehearsal for September of 1995, and were hoping to get at least 32 singers (8 per section). That night over 70 people showed up, and the Lincoln-Way Area Chorale was born. Many of those who attended were Chuck’s former students or parents of former students, and many were active in their local church choirs. It was an unforgettable and inspirational evening for all who attended.
That first year the Chorale rehearsed every other Monday night, and in the spring of 1996 presented their first concert, featuring John Rutter’s “Requiem”, as well as selections from classic Broadway musicals. In their second season the Chorale was incorporated as a 501(c) non-profit organization and a Board of Directors was elected from the membership. Rehearsals were increased to every Monday night, and, in December of 1996 the Chorale presented its first Christmas Concert. LWAC has been presenting annual Christmas and Spring concerts ever since. This year (2019-2020) marks the 25th season for the Chorale!
The Chorale has performed with many area musical organizations over the years. For several years they were one of the featured choirs for the Christmas concerts presented by the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra. They have also performed with the Joliet American Legion Band and the New Lenox Community Band.
Chuck Stark retired as the Chorale’s Artistic Director in the spring of 2012. After an extensive search and interview process, Mr. Greg Day was hired as the new Artistic Director. Under Greg’s direction the Chorale continued to grow and flourish.
Greg Day served as Artistic Director for the Lincoln-Way Area Chorale from the spring of 2012 through the 2017-2018 concert season. Under his leadership, the Chorale captured the attention of other professionals in the choral field both nationally and worldwide. In the fall of 2017 Greg announced his retirement from the Chorale, and in the spring of 2018 he directed his final Chorale concert.
In 2018 we were pleased and excited to introduce our new Artistic Director, Elise’ Greene. Elisé came to us with a wide variety of experiences in the field of vocal music. It includes teaching music and directing choirs from 1979 to the present. She has taught music at all levels from pre-school through adults. She retired in 2018 after 38 years of teaching, with the last 16 years in New Lenox schools.
Elisé holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with an emphasis on Choral Music, and a minor in Music Theory and Literature from Michigan State University. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Music Education with an emphasis on Choral Music from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago.
In addition, Elisé has done vast amounts of accompanying, and has experience both as an actress and a director of musicals, including numerous shows with the Curtain Call Community Theater in Mokena. She also is in demand for adjudicating at Solo and Ensemble Contests, Choral Festivals, and ILMEA Festival Auditions. She comes to us with an instrumental background and was an Assistant Band Director at the high school level.
She has performed in Choirs, Ensembles, Bands, Orchestras, Pit Orchestras, in Musicals, in Plays, on Television, in the Recording Studio, at Banquets, at Weddings, Marching Band, and just about any place you can think of!
Elisé has been an active member of ILMEA, having served as the Choral Chair of the Junior Division, and hosted auditions. She has directed Choirs, Madrigals, various Ensembles, Show Choirs, Musicals, Bands, Bell Choirs, Talent Shows, and taught piano and voice privately.
Working with LWAC is her “Dream Job”! The members have already been so welcoming and kind. Elisé looks forward to many exciting years with this dynamic and special group of singers.
Over the years, the membership in the Chorale has varied from a high of 130 singers to a low of 80. Currently there are 102 singers in the Chorale who come from sixteen towns across Chicago’s south and southwest suburbs. Their specialty is being able to perform a wide variety of musical styles, all with an equally high level of musical excellence. More specifically, they are already widely known, both locally and nationally, for their purity of tone, dynamic contrast, blend, and passion for the music. The Chorale is very quickly attracting the attention of choral directors and music critics on both the local and national levels. Music by the Chorale was sent to critics throughout the United States, all of which responded with high reviews. They have also recently made their first mark on the international scene by being considered for a world debut of a new choral piece by a choral composer in England. Other choral composers here in the United States have expressed interest in writing for the Chorale as well. Throughout all of this, the membership of the Chorale and the talent they bring to the group remains local and pure “Lincoln-Way”.
In January of 2016 the Chorale received an invitation from Distinguished Concerts International of New York to participate in a presentation of Handel’s “Messiah” on the stage of Carnegie Hall with a massed choir and full symphony orchestra on the Sunday following Thanksgiving. 70 singers and many family members and friends traveled to New York City on Thanksgiving week of 2016 to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. For more information our performance, please go to the NEWS page of this website.
Christmas of 2018 the Chorale’s new Artistic Director, Ms. Elisé Greene, took direction over the Chorale conducting one of our best concerts on record. Ms. Greene’s Biography can be seen in the NEWS Page of this website. The Chorale and all of our supporters are very excited to have such a wonderfully talented musician as our leader and look forward to many more years of choral excellence under her guidance and direction.
Mr. Jason Randall, our accompanist, is a graduate of Valparaiso University. While there, he began his vocal accompanying career working as a studio accompanist for Virginia Oram. Shortly after graduating from Valparaiso, he began working as the Organist and Choral Accompanist for the First Presbyterian Church of Homewood, IL. In the spring of 2008, Jason left First Presbyterian Church to become the Director of Music for St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Lemont, IL where he maintains his roles as accompanist and organist with the addition of choral and contemporary group direction, and administration of the music program. Jason is the past Dean of the Northwest Indiana Chapter of the A. G. O., and is a member of the Naperville Chapter of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association and the Music Teachers National Association. He also maintains a private studio where he teaches children and adults the joy and artistry of piano and organ performance.