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Famed Chanticleer, brings its a cappella force to Modesto

San Francisco's Chanticleer is one of the world's premiere choral ensembles.

The all-male 12-member a cappella group has toured around the globe and won two Grammys -- in 2002 and 1999 -- for their recordings.

"They accomplish so much with that a cappella sound and they get the hall ringing in ways you would be amazed," said Cherrie Llewellyn, Modesto Junior College voice instructor.

The group performs at Modesto Junior College's recently renovated auditorium May 17 as part of the Friends of Music series which benefits MJC music programs and scholarships. Tickets are at a bargain basement price of $10-$12 thanks to sponsors who are underwriting costs, Llewellyn said.

The program, "Wondrous Free," will celebrate the 250th anniversary of American song. Selections include David Conte's "The Homecoming" about Martin Luther King Jr. and Eric Whitacre's arrangement of "Sleep My Child." There also will be works by Stephen Foster.

As an added benefit, the group will give a free master voice class to MJC voice students May 18 in the auditorium; the public is invited to attend.

Founded by Louis Botto in 1978, Chanticleer is the only independent full-time classical vocal ensemble in the United States.

The group has performed Renaissance works, jazz, gospel and new music. More than 100 men have sung in the chorus since its inception.

Llewellyn sang with music director Matthew Oltman in another chorus years ago. She said the audience will be delighted with the group.

"They will be entertained and amazed and moved," she said.