About the Choir
Voces Cordis is a body of friends who share a common goal to sing beautiful music in a positive, challenging and efficient rehearsal setting. Formed in the winter and spring months of 2019, they are a cross-section of singers from many of Denver’s finest adult choirs with which their conductor has sung and worked over the past 15 years. All were invited to join the group because of their vocal skill and polish.
Voces Cordis means “Voices of the Heart,” the source of great music. According to Selwyn Hughes, “. . . the mind is the part of us that thinks and reasons; the heart is the part of us that contains our deep longings and desires . . . the engine room of our personality—the part from which comes our drive and motivation.” The intellect behind music gives it order, shape and function, while the heart gives music and text the power to communicate among the singers and into the audience. The members of Voces Cordis will always strive to keep their minds and hearts engaged in their music-making.
Dr. Michael Pohlenz
Dr. Michael Pohlenz moved to Denver in September, 2003, to become Director of Music at Wellshire Presbyterian Church, a position he held for over 14 years. He was previously employed at First Presbyterian Church and East Heights United Methodist Church in Wichita, KS, and for 25 years served as founding Music Director and Conductor of the Wichita Chamber Chorale. The Chorale was honored to perform at the 1996 Joan of Arc Festival in Orléans, France, and the 1989 National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association. Other significant performances included Bach’s Mass in B Minor and St. John Passion, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Duruflé’s Requiem Mass, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, the Western United States premiere of Gretchaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, and the Kansas premiere of Pärt’s Berliner Messe. The Wichita Eagle critic wrote that the Wichita Chamber Chorale . . . routinely responds with a professionalism that’s unrivaled locally. In 2000, Dr. Pohlenz was Guest Conductor of the Bethany College Messiah Festival in Lindsborg, KS, conducting performances of Handel's Messiah and Bach's St. Matthew Passion.
In the Denver community, he was Associate Conductor of Canto Deo for 2 years, Assistant Conductor of Kantorei for 8 years, a performing member of Dr. Howard Skinner’s Summer Choralfest for 5 years, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Denver Bach Society. Michael holds the BME degree from Friends University and graduate degrees in choral conducting from Southern Methodist University and the University of Oklahoma. In his continuing study of choral music, he sang in three Robert Shaw Choral Workshops at Carnegie Hall, sang and studied conducting with Helmuth Rilling at the Oregon Bach Festival, and studied choral methods with Dr. René Clausen in his summer workshops at Concordia College.
Now retired from full-time employment, Dr. Pohlenz is eager to share the fruits of his many years of choral experience through Voces Cordis, an auditioned community choir he founded during the winter and spring of 2019.
"I believe you are one of the finest choral conductors with whom I have ever worked. Your understanding of vocalism, your ability to use time efficiently, your command of stylistic elements and your love for the music itself, as well as your manner in dealing with many high-strung singers, is indeed commendable."
– Dr. Ken Prewitt, University Professor of Voice
“There are not words to describe the depth of my joy in having been part of this performance [Vaughan Williams’ Dona nobis pacem]. I appreciate the accumulation of your technical skills, your spiritual and musical gifts, and the immensity of your desire to be the conduit for expression of so many dedicated singers, talented musicians, the most sensitive poets and a composer who I believed at first blush to be bi-polar!! I finally caught on (later rather than sooner, as is my habit) to the glory of the piece and, with apologies to RVW and applause to all those mentioned below, I now believe this to be the pinnacle of my lifelong choral singing experience. That position had been reserved for John Rutter [Magnificat] so, as you can see, my musical horizons are being broadened dramatically because of your life's work. I thank you endlessly for dragging me along to experience choral excellence! A number of my friends and my husband all believe Dona and the entire program to be our best yet. They all say they had to sit on their hands to prevent applause. I know we all were moved deeply on this occasion.”
–Linda Dey, Wellshire Choir Member
"[Regarding your recent Bach Magnificat,] I was greatly impressed by the high level of the singing and playing. The quality of sound, the precision of ensemble and the rhythmic vitality were all of a high order. Your interpretation was extremely fine - it was one that did full justice to this wonderful work. I was truly moved by the experience. And that I believe is what one wishes for in a performance of great music."
– Dr. Howard Skinner, Retired University
“I cannot express in words my appreciation for the worship service last Sunday. I was moved to tears several times. Not tears of sadness but ones of deep emotion and a feeling of unusual inspiration. I can honestly say that it is one of the most moving moments of my life when I could say that I knew what a religious experience means. Thank you for your leadership and for the musicians that gave their best in the worship of the Christ Child. I shall never forget it. It will remain as vivid in the coming years as it was Sunday.”
–Rev. Dr. Clarence Ammons, Retired
“It never ceases to amaze me how we start off sight-reading and discussing the technical side of the business, and then somehow we transform and create beautiful art."
–Allison McQueen, Charter Member