"Coro Allegro's "We Are Here," imagined and led by conductor David W. Hodgkins...intertwined themes of racism and homophobia, while juxtaposing the ongoing struggle for LGBTI rights worldwide with the struggles against racism in America. The program was built around the world premiere of Aluta Continua: the Life and Passion of David Kato Kisule by the award-winning composer Eric Banks...Coordination of ensemble was exquisite, with crisp diction and perfectly coordinated crescendos and decrescendos; in fact, the dynamic range of the group sounded remarkable. Fortissimos proved exciting but never overblown, and pianissimos, notably for a group of this size, remained always in tune...At the end, the audience was silent for a good 10 seconds, and when the applause broke, it accompanied an immediate and well-deserved standing ovation...That all must stand against injustice of every kind was the overriding message. The performers' devotion to it as well as to the music was unmistakable. The ensemble's enthusiasm was returned by the audience at show's close with a second ovation."
"[The Pärt restatements] were the occasion of the finest singing...: the sudden effulgence of chords on the restatement of the second line, “Te aeternum Patrem”, was rich enough one could feel the sound move out into the space over one’s head; the effect recurred with “Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus,” but this time with an exquisite fragility. ... [T]he final minutes, where the text asks for mercy and protection, than echoes “Sanctus” into silence, were deeply moving, and held the audience rapt for many long seconds before anyone dared to break the silence with applause. ... The musicianship of the chorus and the evident love and passion that goes into its singing is undeniable. ... As an exhibition of choral prowess, the concert was impressive..."
"David Hodgkins conducted the 50-voice Coro Allegro with dignity and assurance, and the sound they produced was nicely varied with color and fine tone at all dynamic levels. The blend among the sections of the chorus was exemplary as was its balance with the small ensemble. The articulations were excellent. I would very much like to hear them in standard repertoire."
"The Kyrie begins with a tutti of the combined forces of voices and instruments, and together they were from the first note. This precision and attention to detail started the concert on a footing which was maintained throughout. … Based on this concert, Hodgkins is a nuanced and inspiring musical director and the [Pinkham Award] serves as a tangible reminder of his skills and the fruitful collaboration between him and Coro Allegro. … After my first time hearing Coro Allegro, I could literally kick myself; this was one of the most exciting, vibrant, and polished concerts I have heard recently. Everyone brought his A-game, and it showed."
"The choir’s sound resonated well in the sizable Church of the Covenant, and their initial homophonic vocal passages were satisfyingly luscious. The energetic leaps of the contrasting middle section were executed with precision …The verses, which were quite simple melodically, generate their captivating pull through a chromatically falling and rising bass line. The choir filled in this humble texture with full, plush harmonies during the surging refrains. Hodgkins coaxed supple phrasings and vocal balance out of these melancholy pieces. … The organ and brass performed with an impressive subtlety while the choir contributed modal melismas that gave the movement its serene, yet somber air. The captivating phrases were sung with an impeccable uniformity of sound and fluidity...[D]espite the composition’s difficulty, the choir exuded assurance and displayed proficiency on all fronts. They shifted seamlessly between tonalities, maintained unity through some of Kodaly’s more contrapuntally complex sections, and supported a full-bodied sound through the four octave range of the Mass. … Coro Allegro successfully delivered the joy, grief, and nostalgia inherent in each of these complex works. … Hodgkins’ connection with the vocalists is apparent, the power he draws from both them and the music is a pleasure to hear."
"Coro Allegro is an accomplished group whose outstanding quality is a beautifully lyrical tone without sacrificing a powerful forte when needed … This group is one of the top choruses in the area and deserves to be heard whenever they perform."
"The performance was excellent. Under conductor David Hodgkins, the combined choruses realized the score’s demands with confidence and stamina."
"We have gotten used to Baroque ensembles using a small number of voices, and this can present challenges when a larger ensemble (Coro Allegro being about 40 singers) takes on Bach. We expect nimbleness and sensitivity, and under Hodgkins’s guidance the choir gave a vivid and persuasive reading. ... This powerful work concluded the concert with a focus of the shining abilities of the choir and their close working relationship with longstanding director Hodgkins. ... [I]t was a beautiful event, carefully structured, evocatively performed, and celebratory"
"The anonymous 10th-century plainchant showcased the purity of the women’s voices ... Bruckner’s Ave Maria was a cogent and powerful reading demonstrating the ensemble’s breadth of expression and range of volume. ...This was a bold and exciting choice on the part of Artistic Director David Hodgkins ... Once more, I was struck by Hodgkins’s and Coro Allegro’s exciting programming as well as by the high standard of execution. ... Coro Allegro [delivered] passion and emotionally richness at an enviable standard."
"Coro eased into the treacherous work showing complete commitment to conductor David Hodgkin’s vision, taking us on a thrilling ride into the dark depths of Ginastera’s interpretation of mournful perspective of the war-torn world around him. Despite the sometimes complex drama of the work, pristine vocal lines particularly in the second and third movements brought out the complex text-painting and counterpoint that illuminated Ginastera’s vibrant setting of Jeremiah’s text. … The ensemble’s fine traversal of experience and expression was richly rewarded by an enthusiastic crowd at Sanders Theatre."
"[M]y expectations were high for an inspiring evening of choral music from Coro Allegro, directed by Hodgkins – and I was not in the least disappointed. … I could not help but imagine [J.S. Bach] empathically sympathizing with the spiritually boundless reverence invoked by the harmonic ingenuity of these sacred choral works passionately forged upon the roots of Eastern Orthodox liturgical tradition. And through Coro Allegro’s stunning interpretation, that reverence was profoundly transmitted through them to a deeply grateful audience. … [T]he sound was glorious, ringing out a broad and color-rich orchestral spectrum that made the harmonic complexity of Rachmaninoff’s homophony sound like it effortlessly tuned itself. … Regarding this performance and the place of the arts in our spiritual lives, I cannot imagine a more exemplary religious expression of 'intelligence on fire'."
"The ample challenges of the work were more than competently met by the chorus, whose attention to detail and diction made the printed version of the text in the program all but unnecessary. Accompanied movements held the chorus in bold delineation against the orchestral accompaniment, while the a capella fifth movement flourished in a well-balanced conception. … Sunday morning’s premiere ended with a much-deserved standing ovation that somehow reinforced the performance, rather than religious, aspect of the work."
"The chorus deftly negotiated the Baroque alongside the more Brahmsian gestures, providing a seamless marriage of old and new. … [T]he presentation by Coro Allegro, assisted by Richard Knisley as Death and Fenwick Smith on the flute was one of the most profound experiences I’ve witnessed at a choral concert in recent memory. … Coro Allegro’s entire performance was an elegant meditation on this most perplexing and difficult of subjects."
"In a city teeming with fine choral ensembles, Coro Allegro, under the direction of David Hodgkins, occupies a unique and distinguished position. … The long choral lines … made one admire the pleasing balance the chorus achieved between warmth (i.e., vibrato) and purity of blend; and dynamics throughout were impressively nuanced. As a choral veteran, your reviewer can attest that even talented choruses find gradual diminuendos considerably more challenging than crescendos; all too often a composer’s request for an extended tapering-off results in a rather dramatic, sudden plunge in volume. Coro Allegro provided a fine example of what concentration and practiced control can achieve. … Mr. Hodgkins, the excellent quartet of soloists, Coro Allegro and its superb orchestra, the composer, and the librettist received a well-deserved standing ovation."