History of Allegro Community Chorus
The Allegro Community Chorus was founded in 2003 at the instigation of Carol Lange, Cultural Arts Coordinator for the Palatine Park District, and Wendy Martinez-McKee, Artistic Director of the Palatine Children’s Chorus. Wendy served as Allegro’s first director, with 20 singers, until 2006, when Susannah Kist took over as Artistic Director. Susannah directed the youngest singers of the Palatine Children’s Chorus as well as the youth theater programs for the Palatine Park District, and she attracted more singers to Allegro. She brought an exuberant spirit and inclusive nature to the group, encouraging individual growth and development.
Susannah passed away in December 2009 after a battle with breast cancer. Her assistant, Beth Campbell, led the chorus for the next two years. Beth said of Susannah and Allegro, “I saw such incredible joy and connection between Susannah and her choir. When she passed away, I knew I could not fill her shoes, but I used our spring concert as a dedication to her love for the choir and their love for her. I continue to look back at my time as part of the Allegro Chorus as one of my favorite musical communities.”
Brent Boyens took over as Artistic Director in the fall of 2010. He expanded the chorus to include an advanced ensemble for more experienced singers, now called Allegretto. "During my tenure as Artistic Director,” Brent said, “I had the pleasure of working with some fantastic and talented musicians. I was astonished by the amount of dedication the members exhibited—from putting on charming concerts in Cutting Hall to caroling around Palatine; from participating in various fundraising events to attending months of tough rehearsals. I am honored that I could be a part of the group’s history and can't wait to see what the group will do next."
In 2014, Maggie Strong took the reigns: "Directing Allegro, I had the opportunity to work with singers of a range of ages and experience levels, but we always came together to create music and make a beautiful sound. I was always amazed at the level of dedication each singer put into tackling difficult repertoire and giving audiences a moving experience."
Kevin Kelly became the Artistic Director of Allegro Community Chorus in September 2015. Kevin moved to the northwest suburbs in 2014 after 23 years in Champaign-Urbana, where he served the musical community in multiple roles: as Music Director of a uniquely entertaining professional chamber orchestra called The Prairie Ensemble; host and producer of a music-and-talk show called “Live and Local” on public radio station WILL-FM; and choirmaster at Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Kevin's extensive music background and expertise attracted more singers, and Allegro Community Chorus has grown to 41 members for its Fall 2016 concert.
“My goals,” says Kevin, “are to build the size of the chorus and especially its quality of sound, while retaining its joyful spirit. Allegro is a warm and enthusiastic bunch who are eager to learn and improve, and who love to entertain a crowd. We welcome new singers with experience, as well as choral newbies.”
The Allegro Community Chorus gives two formal concerts in Cutting Hall each year and frequently sings for other occasions. Allegro has caroled in Deer Park, in downtown Palatine, at local retirement homes and at the Palatine Train Station and has performed summer concerts at Towne Square. Allegro sang the National Anthem for the Schaumburg Boomers this past spring, and was honored to participate in the 2016 Palatine Founders Day celebration, commemorating the village’s 150 years with an original song composed by David Reiser, a retired Palatine High School choral teacher.