► arrow to hear the CPC Chorus performance
Barber's Sure on this Shining Night at the Fall Favorites concert. And
an excerpt from their performance of Singet dem Herrn Ein Neues Lied, from
JS Bach's Motet BWV 235, in the same concert.
These audio selections use the free download Adobe Flash Player
About the Columbia Pro Cantare
The Columbia Pro Cantare is a mixed chorus of over 100 volunteer singers which seeks to present the finest choral music to a growing regional audience.
Since the Spring of 1977, the Columbia Pro Cantare has delighted Howard County and metro area audiences with its concerts of music ranging from opera and oratorio to show tunes and spirituals.
Founded in February, 1977, by Director Frances Motyca Dawson, as a professionally trained volunteer chorus to sing with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at its Howard County concerts and to bring high quality musical experiences to local audiences with its own independent performances, CPC has more than fulfilled its purpose over the thirty-four years.
Inspired by the late James Rouse's vision of Columbia as a place where people could grow and find expression for their artistic talents, Frances Dawson has built a choral group described by the Baltimore Sun as "one of the elite choirs in Maryland" and by the American Record Guide as one of the choral groups that are the "musical hubs of their communities."
Not only has the Pro Cantare performed vocal and choral compositions from the 10th to the 21st centuries, but it has presented concerts devoted to such diverse cultures as Polish (2), Swedish (1), Czech (22), Hungarian (1), Irish (2), Jewish (1), Latin-American (1), American popular, folk and classical (3) and - especially in three European concert tours, the final concert of the 2001-2002 season, and the 2009 Tribute to Paul Robeson - African American. In addition, CPC has performed 14 world premiers, (12 of which were commissioned works of Maryland composers) and 16 U.S. premieres of primarily East European works of outstanding quality from lesser known composers. Most of these were retrieved from Czech archives through Mrs. Dawson's efforts both before and after the fall of communism.
CPC has given more than 12 free or benefit concerts in its lifetime. These range from one of its first concerts, which benefited St. John's Catholic Congregation (11/77) and the opening of Baltimore's Harborplace (7/80), to two Polish concerts which brought attention to the imposition of martial law in Poland (1982, 1983). Pro Cantare also helped celebrate Columbia's 20th birthday with the Hail Columbia concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in 1987 for which local non-profits received all the income from the tickets they sold. That concert featured Jim Rouse's premier as a performer, when he narrated Aaron Copland's A Lincoln Portrait. The chorus also sang at Howard County's 1990 Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration, the 1997 Naturalization Ceremony, the 2002 Howard County remembrance of 9/11 held at Centennial Park, and has brought Christmas carols to Howard County General Hospital since 1982.
In addition to giving concerts at home, the Columbia Pro Cantare has performed in or near Washington D.C. (Kennedy Center, National City Christian Church, National Cathedral, National Presbyterian Church), and in Baltimore (Harborplace, Kraushaar Auditorium, Christ Lutheran Church, Holy Rosary Church, 2nd Presbyterian Church, Memorial Episcopal Church, Church of the Redeemer). In all, the Columbia Pro Cantare has thrilled more than 100,000 audience members and introduced them to some of the finest music composed in the western world.