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Local choir brings beauty to Austinites.

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Photo: Conspirare
Photo: Conspirare

Conspirare is a group of 30 professional singers from around the country who have decided to call Austin home.

"Austin is a really special environment for Conspirare," says Craig Hella Johnson, the group's founder, artistic director, and conductor. "I like to think I chose austin, but I think life has a way of kind of leading you places, and it seems like it kind of chose me some years ago. It just seems like there's a lot of integrity in the art that's being done here, and I love that."

The group began in 1991 as an annual spring festival choir called the New Texas Festival. They later took the name Conspirare and in 1999 moved to a year-round format. The name Conspirare means "to breathe together."

"As singers, what we paint on is the breath and what we share most intrinsically, all of us in common, is the breath," says Johnson. "It's the one thing we can easily say. I breathe. You breathe. It's what we share. It's what gives us life, and so I think that's kind of the foundation of where all this comes from."

Members say that the choral format gives them a special connection to the music and their fellow singers.

"When we work in choral music, there is a personal connection that is not with the instrument," says Conspirare member Rick Gabrillo. "It's between you and the art. It's just your voice and you're giving it. When that comes together, when everyone's singing together, it's just as if you get to know people, even if you've never met before but after you've sung together, you know them on a deeper level."

Their audience feels connected to their work as well.

"Angels on their day off come listen to these people," says Joe Cain, a member of the Conspirare board of directors. "So, I think it's just that kind of music and I love to be here with the angels."



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Produced by Tom Spencer.

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