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Calmus to Perform in Hockett Chamber Music Series at Ithaca College

ITHACA, NY — Calmus — an a cappella quintet that captivates both audiences and critics with its charming stage presence, flawless technique and entertaining presentation — will give this year’s performance in the annual Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Concert Series at Ithaca College. The free concert will take place Thursday, April 3, at 8:15 p.m. in Ford Hall in the James J. Whalen Center for Music.

With selections ranging from the classical music of Bach, Debussy and Schütz to the pop and rock of Freddie Mercury, Bobby McFerrin and Sting, Calmus’s program will demonstrate the ensemble’s diverse repertoire and limitless scope of music offerings. Through a unique combination of a pure soprano voice with four male voices ranging from bass to countertenor, Calmus creates a seamless blend of five voices and conveys performances with great respect and a sense of joy in singing that is obvious to the listener.

The group embodies the rich choral tradition of its hometown of Leipzig, Germany, where it was founded in 1999 and where all of its members attended the renowned St. Thomas Church Choir School. First prize winner of the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Calmus was described by the Deseret Morning News as, “Nothing short of remarkable…they, quite simply, bring whatever they sing to glorious life.”

Established as a permanent endowment in 2000, the Shirley and Chas Hockett Chamber Music Concert Series honors two longtime educators and musicians.

Chas, who passed away in 2000, enjoyed a distinguished academic career at Cornell University, from which he retired in 1982 as the Goldwin Smith Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and Linguistics. Chas also had a passion for music, which he shared with his wife, Shirley, and with their five children. He wrote a number of works, including an opera, “Dona Rosita,” which was performed by the Ithaca Opera Association in the early 1970s.

Shirley, who passed away in September 2013, was also an accomplished educator, author and music lover. After teaching at Cornell for 20 years, she began teaching at Ithaca College in 1966 and was appointed full professor in 1973. Shortly after her retirement in 1991, she was named Professor Emerita of Mathematics by the Ithaca College Board of Trustees. Chas also played the bass clarinet; Shirley was a clarinetist, and together they performed with the Ithaca Concert Band.

The Shirley and Chas Hockett Library of Ensemble Music in the Whalen Center was named in the Hocketts’ honor in 1999, and three years later, a second venue in the Whalen Center, the Hockett Family Recital Hall, was dedicated.