By Janelle Richmond
Dr. William Crowle lets his music talk for him. A highly accomplished musician with degrees from the Eastman School of Music and Indiana University, he is the long-time accompanist for the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir. “Music touches people in a unique manner,” he said “For me, it’s a way to reach out that can’t be accomplished using only language.”
Crowle has been the accompanist for the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir since 2001, with the exception of a one-year hiatus. This year, the Choir is performing “The Old Irish Blessing,” composed by Crowle, at its annual concert on Sun., Apr. 2, 4 p.m., St. Cajetan Church. It is the first piece of Crowle’s the Choir has performed. It was written as a farewell tribute. “It was a way to say goodbye to a respected colleague and to send her off with a benediction,” Crowle said.
“The Old Irish Blessing” was influenced by the jazz tradition and has unusual rhythms. In rehearsal, the Choir finds it to be an interesting difference from more traditional compositions. “I don’t write simply, I like to challenge,” Crowle points out with a laugh.
Crowle is a prolific composer. He’s been commissioned to write choral, symphonic band, and organ pieces by organizations both in Chicago and throughout the U.S. Most recently, his arrangement of “Amazing Grace” for soprano, clarinet, and piano premiered in mid-February at First Presbyterian Church in Deerfield. In addition to being a highly sought-after accompanist, he is also an accomplished organist.
The Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir concert will include a mix of traditional, gospel, and other sacred music. The Chatham Choral Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Charles T. Hayes, will join the Community Choir for the “Gospel Trinity” and “Lift Every Voice for Freedom.”
“As a musician, it’s important to embrace diversity of music,” Crowle said. He believes this is one of the strengths of the Community Choir and why he keeps coming back year after year.
The theme of this year’s concert is “One Voice.” “Music is a way to bring us all together,” Crowle commented. Indeed, the mission of the Choir is to minimize disparities and create connections. The choice of music for the concert celebrates this unity. Each year, the performance draws nearly 400 people.
About the Community Choir
Founded in 1999 to celebrate the millennium, the Beverly Morgan Park Community Choir is sponsored by the Community of Churches. Its purpose is to bring together people of all faiths in song. The Choir has more than 55 volunteer singers and employs a professional music director, Lance Loiselle, in addition to Crowle. “I’ve seen much growth over the years,” Crowle said about his tenure as accompanist.
Crowle believes it’s fitting that “The Old Irish Blessing” will be performed by the Choir. “It is really one voice of blessing for us all.”