A Story of a Conductor who Fulfilled her Dream: The Marianna Kosaya Concert (Fri., Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. Northbrook Public Library. Free Admission)

The Campanella Children’s Choir invites you to a literary and musical performance featuring poets and music by some of the world’s greatest classical composers. The program is a collaboration of Campanella’s Concert Choir under the direction of Marianna Kosaya, The Chicago Trio, and guitarist Mikhail Sytchev.

The Story of the Campanelle Conductor
Marianna Kosaya emigrated from the Ukraine twenty years ago.  Her dream had always been to someday lead music. In Ukraine she had studied in the Kiev State Pedagogical University, graduating with an M.A. in Music Education and Choir Conducting, but life in America forced her to hustle so she worked in interior decorating before chance called her into music again. It happened like this. Her four-year-old daughter loved singing. Marianna took some time off to teach her. A friend joined, the group grew, so Marianna decided to fulfill her dream.  In 2001, Marianna formed the Campanella Children’s Choir and Educational Center and today the non-profit school has 120 children.

dbfchicago Photo of Marina Kosoya

Marina Kosoya, Conductor – Campanella Children’s Choir

Structure of the Campanella Children’s Choir and Educational Center

The group is located in St.Giles Church in Northbrook. The children, aged 3-18, come from a variety of cultures but are schooled in a multicultural repertoire.  All learn basic music skills, correct breathing, the ability to carry a tune, and mastery of percussion instruments.  Students are also taught Art, music theory, and the confidence to perform in front of large audiences and in prestigious venues.  Math and Russian are added to the mix.  You can learn more on campanellachoir.com.

The 2015 Marianna Kosaya “Music and Poetry” Concert  

In 2014, Tanya Ilina and Marianna Kosaya had an idea. They wanted to show the hidden melody of language – how words have an enchanting music of their own. So they took certain famous poems and interlaced them with celebrated musical compositions.

“In our first concert,” Marianna told me, “we used Russian poems. In this choir, we will use mostly English poetry: Emerson, Dickinson, Frost, Wordsworth. And one Russian poet – Leonid Aronson.”

Artists will play compositions – Bach, Rachmaninoff, and the folk pieces of guitarist Mikhail Sytchev – shadowed by different styles ranging from Baroque to contemporary auras.

“Our hope is to have you feel the music, connect with the mood.  The ‘Chicago Trio’ will orchestrate with cello, piano, violin and classical guitar.  The Children’s Choir along with the soloists and ensemble will perform choral and vocal pieces.”

Marianna gushed on. I was forced to interrupt her in order to clarify the Ukrainian accent.

“The music by itself is beautiful,” she enthused, “the music has just – great melodies! It is an inspiring atmosphere. It is spiritual. Calming. Therapeutic.”

Three Tips for Appreciating Classical Music

Some of us may be attending Marianna’s concert as beginners to classical music so Marianna advises the following:

  1. Begin with the radio. Listen to WFMT 98.7 classical music station for just a few minutes a day.  Choose one composer, whom you like, let’s say Schumann, or one music style that you like – such as romantic. Then explore similar composers: Schubert, Chopin and so forth.
  2. Watch concerts on YouTube. Rent DVDs or CDs from your library. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has amazing concerts.
  3. Most important: Listen deeply and intently to the sounds and nuances of the music.


Any questions? Contact Marianna Kosaya at info@campanellachoir.org for more information about the concert or about her classes.

story by: Leah Zitter, dbfchicago.com Local Columnist