Thanksgiving 2013



Sunday, November 24th, 2013 at 5pm
Pre-Concert Talk at 4pm, doors open at 3:45pm
Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
812 N. Jackson St., Milwaukee

Sponsored by John Shannon and Jan Serr

This performance is not recommended for children under 5. Program subject to change.


Concert Previews

Journal Sentinel
Shepherd Express
Third Coast Daily

Present Music’s (PM) newly-formed vocal ensemble, Hearing Voices, will be joined by choirs and singers from Arrowhead High School, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Pius XI High School, Voces Punica from Carthage College, and visiting composer and performer, Caroline Shaw, to create an amazing vocal experience at the annual PM Thanksgiving concert.

PM and special guests will perform the remarkable 40-voice I Never by David Lang.  The program will feature Caroline Shaw’s Sarabande, Fly Away I andFly Away III, Punctum, and Cantico delle creature. Keeping with the Present Music Thanksgiving tradition of friendship and inclusion, the audience will be invited to join in the opening and closing songs by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group and sing along to The Way Old Friends Do composed by Björn Kristian Ulvaeus of ABBA.

Pre-Concert Discussion with Caroline Shaw, 4pm
Come early for a pre-concert talk with Caroline Shaw, the youngest person to ever win the Pulitzer prize. Shaw will discuss the inspiration and process for creating her music.

Watch the whole pre-concert talk here:


Full Concert Program
Opening Song by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group
Fly Away I by Caroline Shaw
Punctum by Caroline Shaw
Sarabande by Caroline Shaw
I'll Fly Away by Caroline Shaw
Cantico delle creature by Caroline Shaw
I Never by David Lang
To Whom it May Concern: Thank You by Mark Stewart
The Way Old Friends Do by Björn Kristian Ulvaeus
Friendship Dance by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group
Closing Song by the Bucks Native American Singing and Drumming Group

Spem in alium by Thomas Tallis has been removed from the concert program.

Hearing Voices – Present Music’s newly formed vocal ensemble

During Present Music's (PM) 32-year history, there have been many pieces that weren’t performed simply because Milwaukee didn't have a small professional vocal group that could perform the kind of new music that PM wanted to do. Kevin Stalheim, PM’s Artistic Director,  was so excited when Sharon Hansen's Milwaukee Choral Artists (MCA) came on the scene.  PM and MCA had many incredible performances together at the annual Thanksgiving concerts.

When MCA disbanded recently, PM wasn't sure what would happen at the next Thanksgiving concert. But then something kind of amazing happened. Caroline Shaw won the Pulitzer Prize for music so Stalheim began to research her music. The music she won the prize for, Partita, was for an ensemble of eight voices and he loved it instantly. PM’s Hearing Voices vocal project will be flexible in size but have a core of eight singers performing at Thanksgiving on November 24 and again at Home Place on June 21.


Caroline Shaw
Caroline Shaw, originally from North Carolina, is a musician appearing in many guises. She performs primarily as violinist with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and as vocalist with Roomful of Teeth. She has also worked with the Trinity Wall Street Choir, Alarm Will Sound, Wordless Music, Ensemble Signal, AXIOM, The Yehudim, Victoire, Opera Cabal, the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble, Hotel Elefant, the Knights the Oracle Hysterical, Red Light New Music, the Yale Baroque Ensemble, and in collaboration with tUnE-yArDs, Glasser, The National, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, John Cale, Max Richter, and Steve Reich.

Caroline’s original music has been described as “dazzling, emotionally generous” (New York Times) and “a tour de force of vocal mischief-making” (eMusic). Her works have been performed by Roomful of Teeth, So Percussion, ACME, the Brentano Quartet, the Knights, New Morse Code, and others. Caroline has been a Yale Baroque Ensemble fellow and a Rice University Goliard fellow (fiddling in Sweden), and she was a recipient of the infamous Thomas J. Watson fellowship, to study historical formal gardens and live out of a backpack. She is currently a doctoral fellow at Princeton. Caroline lives in New York City, where she can sometimes be found kayaking on the Hudson.



Arrowhead High School –The Broadway Company
Over 450 students participate in the choral music program at Arrowhead High School. Today’s performers sing in a Concert Choir and participate in a select music theater troupe, The Broadway Company. The Broadway Company’s Cats production won USAToday’s award for Best High School Musical in the USA. Arrowhead High School choir students appear frequently with the Wisconsin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Wisconsin State Honors Choir, and at historic Holy Hill. The choirs are directed by Nancy Jorgensen and Grace Bielski

Voces Punica from Carthage College

Milwaukee Opera Theatre
Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) is thrilled to once again be partnering with Present Music having recently collaborated on Kamran Ince's The Judgment of Midas.  MOT is currently in the midst of a busy season that includes Victory for Victoria (a new musical), The Eurydice Project (a two day festival), L'enfant e les Sortileges (an opera...with puppets), Fortuna the Time Bender vs. The Schoolgirls of Doom (an original superhero operetta) and Home Place (another project with Present Music). To learn more about Milwaukee Opera Theatre, please visit



Pius XI High School Choir
The Pius High School Choral Music Department has a tradition of excellence that is rich in its history and achievements.  Musical ensembles have received many prestigious awards and recognitions on a national and international level. The Pius Performing Arts Program has been recognized by the National Catholic Educator’s Association for its visionary leadership in education, and the Pius XI Vocal Music program has been heralded by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts as one of the top programs in the country.  In addition, Pius XI students have received individual awards and recognitions in several areas including: the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the WSMA Honors Project, the National Association for Music Education all national Honor Choir,  Next Direction, the Regional Arts Recognition and Talent Search (ARTS), and the Florentine Opera High School Master Class Program.

This event is an independent function and is not related to, nor sponsored by, nor controlled by the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Program subject to change.