“The best of the several amateur choruses in the city.” -The Kansas City Star
“Simply superb…This choir was prepared to professional standards, technically and musically.”
“It’s hard to know where to begin praising this chorus’ performance…It was almost like hearing a family.” - John Heuertz, the Kansas City Star
The William Baker Festival Singers of Kansas City is a 50-voice semi-professional chorus specializing in sacred a cappella classics and spirituals, in addition to masterworks for chorus and chamber orchestra. The ensemble is based in metro-Kansas City and continues the Festival Singers tradition begun in Atlanta in 1985. The membership of the WBFS-Kansas City is comprised of some of the finest professional and amateur singers in the Heartland region. Singers travel from Topeka, Kansas on the west and Garden City, Missouri on the east to be a part of the William Baker Festival Singers.
In their first sixteen seasons, the Festival Singers has performed challenging and diverse a cappella classics from Renaissance to Contemporary, and has delighted audiences across the region with their authentic renditions of American folk music, African-American spirituals, and gospel songs. The Festival Singers has given tour performances from New York to New Orleans to Minneapolis to Des Moines to Atlanta. Additional Highlights from Spring 2013 included a performance of the Requiem of Maurice Durufle with members of the Kansas City Symphony in Helzberg Hall of the Kaufmann Center for the Performing Arts followed by a concert tour of New York and New Jersey with performances in Miller Chapel of the Princeton Theological Seminary and the Trinity Wall Street Church in New York City. The choir has produced several nationally-marketed recordings and appeared in numerous radio and television programs.
The annual performance of choral/orchestral masterpieces by the William Baker Festival Singers is a highlight of the concert season in Kansas City. Recent concerts have included the first performances in decades by Kansas City-based ensembles of the Bach: St. Matthew Passion in 2007, and the Mass in B minor in 2009. Other renowned concerts have included Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem, Bernstein: Missa Brevis and Chichester Psalms, Kodaly’s Laudes Organi, and the Requiems of Durufle, Rutter and Mozart. In 2012 the Festival Singers presented the first performance of Ernest Bloch’s Avodath Hakodesh in Kansas City in over 30 years. The performance was broadcast in its entirety on Kansas Public Radio.
The 2013-2014 Sixteenth Anniversary Season included a special Hymn Festival/Beethoven 9th performance in September, and signature events such as the Season Opening Concert in November, Candlelight, Carols, and Cathedral in December, and an April performance of Brahms’ A German Requiem featuring the English translation prepared by Robert Shaw. The season culminates with a tour of Kansas cities in partnership with and in support of Kansas Public Radio.
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Pictures from Recent Tours