Handel Week Festival

From the Director

A Welcome from the Artistic Director of Handel Week, Dennis Northway

Warmest welcome friends of Handel Week. What an exciting season we have planned for you! I will tell you all about it in just one moment, but first I have to offer you a big THANK YOU for your wonderful support of our recent virtual season. Thanks to you, we have prospered during the pandemic. On behalf of the board of directors and myself, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS! Now, fingers crossed, we will enjoy a thrilling 23rd season together in person! Let me tell you a bit about it:

We will open with a thrilling presentation of Vivaldi's (the Read-Headed Priest) setting of the Four Seasons. Under the baton of Madeleine Woodworth in her first appearance as conductor with the Handel Week family, this program was chosen to celebrate two features of the festival. We will use the four concerti of the Four Seasons to demonstrate the depth of our bench of Violinists by having a different Violinist be soloist for each movement! This will give variety and depth to the reading. We will hear virtuoso violinists Jeri- Lou Zike, Dr. Jaime Gorgojo, Wendy Benner, and Concertmaster Thomas Yang as our featured soloists. This is not to be missed! The other feature, joining us for this concert will also be the golden-throated Soprano, Kimberly McCord who will present Handel's stirring Cantata for Soprano and orchestra H.W.V. 150 Qual ti riveggion, oh Dio; this has never been heard in the Midwest! To round out the concert we will feature the Orchestra alone in Handel's Suite in F Major, H.W.V. 342. It will be a sublime afternoon of energetic music-making!

Our second concert again explores the rich treasure trove of materials penned by Handel during his sojourn in Italy. Never before have we had a concert of Chamber music for Soprano and Bass, but will do so this coming season! With regard to artists, we offer the best of the best! Soprano Sarah Gartshore and Baritone Philip Kraus will be joined by our Concertmaster Thomas Yang and virtuoso violinist Jeri Lou Zike in presenting these magnificent works! We have chosen the duet cantata H.W.V. 191 Quando in calma for Soprano, Bass and Basso Continuo and paired it with the Bass virtuoso cantata H.W.V. 165 Spande ancora mio which also requires two violins. We show off the Violins alone in the Sonata H.W.V. 397 Opus 5 # 2 in D Major and feature our Soprano in her own cantata H.W. V. 184 Che vai pensado. This will be an audience pleaser! We always present these in a more intimate room setup in a Cabaret-seating layout.

We will conclude the in-person season with the wonderful CHANDOS ANTHEMS! We will be presenting four of these in the manner they were originally heard with a small ensemble of singers, Soprano, Tenor and Bass with no Altos and a small Orchestra, with no Violas in residence. Handel wrote beguiling music for this ensemble and we will be presenting H.W.V. 246 O be joyful (Chandos Jubilate), H.W.V. 249b O sing unto the Lord, H.W.V. 248 Have mercy on me, and H.W.V. 247 In the Lord I put my trust. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear Handel's music as he intended it to be heard!

I look forward to greeting you in person at all three concerts!

To Handel and his music!

Dennis Northway

Concerts this Season

Concert 1 - The Grand Handel

Sunday, February 9th, 2020
See Concert Details

Concert 2 - The Alto in Love and Life!

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020
See Concert Details

Concert 3 - The Regal Handel

Sunday, March 1st, 2020
See Concert Details

Our festival concerts feature:

  • Music in one of the most acoustically perfect venues in the area
  • For Concerts I and III: Pre-concert lectures beginning @ 2:15 pm and post-concert receptions with the artists
  • Concert II is cabaret-style concert: Intimate tables with refreshments. Artists provide commentary on performance
  • Free lighted parking in adjacent lot.
  • Free admission for children & teens between the ages of 8-18

Who We Are

The Handel Week Festival is an annual festival to celebrate the music of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). The Festival is currently held in the spring of each year at Pilgrim Church in Oak Park and was begun at Grace Episcopal Church, in Oak Park, Illinois. It was begun in 2000, patterned after the highly successful Bach Week Festival in Evanston. Founders Dr. Dennis E. Northway and Charles Chauncey Wells believed that the works of this great master would be as enthusiastically received as Bach Week's 4 decades of success.

Handel Week Festival is a production of Handel Week Incorporated, an Illinois non-profit corporation devoted to popularizing and promoting the music of Handel. It encourages musicians and various media venues to play his works and supports activities pertaining to Handel both in Chicagoland and throughout the world. Handel Week Incorporated is a not-for-profit corporation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Documentary video produced by Edward Seaton
Learn More


Our concert information in available on the concerts page and tickets are available on the Ticket Box page.

Our Venue

Pilgrim Congregational Church
Better sight lines!
More parking!
Pilgrim Congregational Church U.C.C.
460 Lake St, Oak Park, IL 60302

Listen Now

O Ruddier than the Cherry
Artist:Philip A. Kraus
Acis and Galata
Handel Festival 2019
The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Act III Opening
Artist: The Handel Week Festival Orchestra The Oratorio Solomon
2019 Performance
Aria: Will the sun forget to streak
Artist: Kimberly McCord and the Handel Week Festival Orchestra The Oratorio Solomon
Handel Festival 2019
Anthem for the Coronation of Queen Caroline (2008)
Acis And Galatea, The flocks shall leave the mountains (2008)
Chamber Concert (2008)