Joseph Jennings to retire from Chanticleer

by Alison Young, Minnesota Public Radio
June 3, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — In 1983, Joseph Jennings took a job singing with an ensemble that would completely change his life. He joined the fledgling San Francisco choral group, Chanticleer.

Jennings started off singing counter-tenor under the direction of his good friend and the founder of the ensemble, Louis Botto. But it would only take a year before Botto would tap Jennings as the ensemble's next Music Director.

"We sang together, dreamed together, laughed and cried together," Jennings says. "We were totally fearless in our dreaming, and those dreams were often translated to reality."

A reality that has meant big things for the "world's reigning male chorus."

From performances in some of the greatest halls in the world, to appearances on the Today Show and American Public Media's Saint Paul Sunday, Chanticleer has become synonymous with an electrifying sound, and a blend that captures a quality of serenity that truly lives up to what one critic describes "an orchestra of voices."

Mr. Jennings has helped define and shape the ensemble most notably by arranging some of Chanticleer's signature repertoire of spirituals and jazz standards.

In addition, Jennings presided over the release of 25 recordings, many of them best-sellers, including the Grammy Award-winners "Colors of Love" and Lamentations and Praises."

At the end of June, Joseph Jennings will retire from his role as Artistic Advisor of Chanticleer. He has been in that role since stepping down as Music Director in 2008.

"The past 26 years have been filled with joys and sorrows and incredible music making! I have met some truly wonderful people in the group and audience members who will forever hold a very special place in my heart."

Joseph Jennings will still have a place in Chanticleer's heart as Music Director Emeritus.

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Music from Chanticleer in concert April 23 Ordway Center, Saint Paul

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