Festival Choir of Madison

2019-2020 Season

Postcard of our 2019-2020 season

Ner Tamid: Eternal Flame

Ner Tamid: Eternal Flame

Saturday March 14, 2020 – 8:00 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

Celebrating the Jewish Spirit with choral music inspired by Yiddish folklore, Klezmer traditions, songs of diaspora, and themes related to the suffering of the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

Conductor: Sergei Pavlov

Click here to purchase tickets for Ner Tamid: Eternal Flame

Requiem by W. A. Mozart

Requiem by W. A. Mozart

Saturday May 16, 2020 – 8:00 PM Hamel Music Center (Google Maps)
740 University Ave, Madison WI 53706

with Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

Conductor: Sergei Pavlov

Check back later this season for ticketing information.


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About Us

Festival Choir of Madison is an auditioned, mixed-voice choir of 50 experienced singers who come from all walks of life to make music together.  We strive to fill cultural niches that are not represented in Madison, including modern composers and music from all around the world.  You can see some recordings of our past performances here or on our YouTube channel

Da Pacem Domine
Rehearsing for Da Pacem Domine

Festival Choir of Madison has long championed living composers by commissioning and performing new works. Recent Composers-in-Residence have included Stephen Paulus, Elizabeth Alexander, Paul Carey, Eric Whitacre, and Scott Gendel.

In addition to its regular subscription season, the Choir has performed live broadcasts from the Chazen Museum for Wisconsin Public Radio, appeared as part of Overture Center’s Grand Opening Festival, and toured across the state and abroad. In 1999, the Choir traveled by invitation to Austria as the first choral ensemble ever asked to participate in the prestigious Ost-West Musikfest.

Founded in 1972 by Vernon Sell, Festival Choir was led by David Lewis Crosby from 1975 to 1993, Eric Townell from 1993 to 2006, Drew Collins from 2007 to 2008, Dr. Bruce Gladstone from 2009 through 2011, and Dr. Bryson Mortensen from 2011 through 2015.

Sergei Pavlov, Artistic Director

Sergei Pavlov

Sergei Pavlov is the Artistic Director of the Festival Choir of Madison and Director of Choral Activities at Edgewood College.

Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Sergei Pavlov studied choral and orchestral conducting at the Pancho Vladigerov National Conservatory of Music under the renowned Bulgarian professors Vassil Kazandjiev, Miroslav Popsavov, and Boris Spassov; and in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign under Donald Schleicher and Fred Stoltzfus. From 1996 until 2004 Sergei worked for Classic FM radio, where he created and hosted a popular Bulgarian radio talk show, Morning Coffee. His many radio guests included such musical stars as Montserrat Caballé, Anton Guadagno, Andrei Konchalovsky, Ghena Dimitrova, and José Cura.

Sergei Pavlov’s professional conducting debut came in Sofia, with the Orchestra of Classic FM radio, as part of the European music festival in May 2002. In 2004 he was appointed Music Director of the Illinois String Orchestra and assistant conductor of the Quad City Symphony. In 2010 he worked as assistant conductor and chorus master of Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and this same year made his first appearance with the orchestra of The Spoleto Festival USA. In 2011, also in Spoleto USA, he conducted a performance of the anniversary production of the opera The Medium, celebrating 100 years from the birth of its composer, Giancarlo Menotti. From 2006 to 2011 Sergei was associate conductor of the University of Illinois Opera Theatre. Since late 2011 he maintains close artistic connections with Teatro Nacional Sucre, The National Opera Theatre of Ecuador. Sergei Pavlov has worked with internationally renowned opera artists such as Grace Bumbry, Willard White, Barbara Dever, Maurizio Barbacini, Stefano Vizioli, and Daniel Catán.

Ted Reinke, Accompanist

In addition to Festival Choir, his current organist and accompanist positions include St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton, St. Francis House Student Episcopal Center, and Temple Beth-El.

Ted Reinke has been a Madison area musician for 40 years, having arrived fo graduate school in 1972 after graduating from University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.

Wayne Doverspike, Associate Conductor

Wayne Doverspike

Wayne Doverspike has been an educator and conductor of choral music for the last 60 years. He received his Bachelor of Music Education, Cum Laude, with an emphasis on choral conducting from North Central College, Naperville, IL in 1965.

After graduation, he accepted the position of Choral Music Director at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, IL. During his fourteen-year tenure, his choirs toured throughout the United States and were invited several times to perform on Chicago TV programs. Wayne’s educational leadership earned him the “Outstanding Young Educator Award” presented by the local Jaycees.

After serving as music minister in several churches in Illinois, in 1979 he moved with his wife and two sons to Neshkoro, WI and from 1980 until the present he has maintained his service in church music ministry. From 1981 to 1995 Wayne served as the Artistic and Executive Director of the Waushara Civic Chorus in Wautoma, WI. The 65-member chorus gave annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah” in addition to other major choral works. In 2005 he was the co-founder and co-director of the Neshkoro, WI Community Chorus whose 45-50 members continue to present two major concerts each year. In Neshkoro, population 450, the concerts regularly draw audiences of 400-500 attendees.

Wayne has been a member of the Festival Choir of Madison since 1998. During this time, he has been a featured soloist and bass section leader and has served on the Board of Directors.

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Past Performances

2018-2019 Season

Jasmine Flowers

Jasmine Flowers

Saturday May 18, 2019 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

Video: The dance of Light and Water on the West Lake in China, painted through the harmonies of one of the contemporary masters of choral music, the Chinese-American composer Chen Yi

A Thousand Beautiful Dreams

A Thousand Beautiful Dreams

Saturday March 16, 2019 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

Angels and Demons

Angels and Demons

Saturday November 3, 2018 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

A Dante-inspired journey from the Inferno through Purgatory all the way to Paradise, as interpreted by composers Karl Jenkins, Zdeněk Lukáš, György Orbán, Alfred Schnittke, Joseph Rheinberger, Rodion Schedrin, W. A. Mozart, and Marteen Spruijt!

Video: Festial Choir of Madison sings “Cantus Lacrimosus” by Karl Jenkins (b.1944)

2017-2018 Season

The Slavic Soul

The Slavic Soul

Saturday May 19, 2018 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

Video: Anya Gubenkova and the Festival Choir of Madison sing A Cuckoo is Cooing (arranged by Dimitri Shostakovich)
Nikoleta Popova, Guest Conductor

45th Anniversary Gala

45th Anniversary Gala

Saturday March 17, 2018 – 7:00 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

Video: Festival Choir of Madison sings “Bird Song” by John Milne (b.1954), inspired by Maya Angelou.
Solo Soprano: Lee Hayes

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Saturday November 4, 2017 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

The Festival Choir of Madison presents ‘Northern Lights,’ a concert of contemporary Norwegian and Baltic Choral music, inspired by the phenomena of Aurora Borealis. Our voices will be supported by leading Madison-based musicians in this magical journey through the mystical soundscapes of the North.

  • Trond Kverno (Norway) – Ave Maris Stella
  • Ola Gjeilo (Norway/US) – Northern Lights
  • Eriks Esenvalds (Latvia) – Northern Lights
  • Ola Gjeilo (Norway) – Dark Night of the Soul
  • Lars Jansson  (Sweden) – Salve Regina
  • Peteris Vasks (Latvia) – Mother Sun
  • Douglas Hill (Wisconsin, US) – “A different Drummer” Homage a Thoreau

Video: Festival Choir of Madison sings “Salve Regina” by Lars Jansson (b.1951), arr. Gunnar Eriksson

Sergei Pavlov, Conductor
Ted Reinke, Piano
James McKenzie, Percussion

2016-2017 Season

Musical Zodiac

Musical Zodiac

Saturday May 6, 2017 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

Featuring works by Ennio Morricone (Scorpio), Hector Berlioz (Sagittarius), Claude Debussy (Leo), J.S Bach (Aires), and many more.

With this concert, we celebrate Mr. Ted Reinke’s 25th anniversary as our principal accompanist!

The Great American Songbook

The Great American Songbook

Saturday March 4, 2017 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

Da Pacem Domine

Da Pacem Domine

Saturday October 29, 2016 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

2015-2016 Season

An Evening with Joseph Flummerfelt

An Evening with Joseph Flummerfelt

Saturday May 7, 2016 – 7:30 PM Christ Presbyterian Church (Google Maps)
944 East Gorham St, Madison WI 53703

Misa Criolla

Misa Criolla

Saturday March 5, 2016 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705

The Romance of Music

The Romance of Music

Saturday November 7, 2015 – 7:30 PM First Unitarian Society (Google Maps)
900 University Bay Dr, Madison WI 53705