Chicago a capella puts on holiday special

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Vasu Dar

Singers from Chicago a capella sing in different languages

Vasu Dar, Staff Writer

Chicago a cappella performed their new Holidays A Cappella program on Dec. 5 at the Community United Methodist Church at 20 Center St. in Downtown Naperville after a year of going virtual.

The new program, created by Chicago a capella baritone singer Joe Labozetta and directed by Paul Nicholson and Paul Langford, featured a variety of brand-new arrangements from around the world, ranging from Puerto Rico to the Republic of Georgia. 

“I wanted to put the holiday spirit into this program,” Labozetta said. “Not just Christmas, but other traditions like Hanukkah and Yule as well.”

Chicago a cappella is no stranger to foreign music. They regularly sing in more than five different languages.

“I think this shows what makes our group so special,” Labozetta said. “No other a cappella group I know can do this.”

Chicago a cappella was founded in 1993. Its mission statement is to “advance the art and appreciation of ensemble singing” through live performances and other initiatives. Though based in Chicago, the group has branched out over the last two decades. By now, Chicago a cappella has performed over 350 times in 13 U.S. states and Mexico. Their performances include both traditional gospel music and more contemporary works. The group has steadily gained popularity in Naperville.

“We are expecting a couple hundred people this time,” executive director Matt Greenberg said. 

Local residents had been anticipating the program. 

“I just love the harmony and Christmas spirit,” DuPage County resident Linda Sifferd said, before the show began. 

It’s the group’s first time back after they were forced to go exclusively online for more than a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We lost the entire 2020 season,” Greenberg said. “We adapted quickly to creating livestream videos and other behind-the-scenes context.”

Greenberg still plans to stream online events. The next planned virtual event is on Dec. 20. The event contains “this year’s ‘Holidays a cappella’ concerts, along with behind-the-scenes commentary and a few special live performances for the holiday season,” according to the group’s website.

Chicago a cappella is back, with new safety measures to ensure the health and safety of the performers and the audience. Everyone is required to wear masks and show proof of full vaccination when entering the venue. Performers also take routine COVID-19 tests.

“It feels good to be back,” Labozetta said.

To those who aren’t sure about coming, “It’s a chance to experience something new,” Labozetta said. “There’s something for everyone.” This is the third in a series of the group’s first six live performances of “Holidays a cappella.” Tickets for the next shows cost $33.