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Nebraska Chamber Players

Third Chair Players are now the Nebraska Chamber Players. (Schrader Marcus Photographics)

Schrader Marcus Photographics

Rebecca Van de Bogart knew who was calling, but she answered the phone anyway with "Hello, Nebraska Chamber Players."

"I have to practice saying it," she said, chuckling.

The Players are one of two longtime Lincoln performing arts organizations that underwent a name change this summer.

The Third Chair Chamber Players are now the Nebraska Chamber Players, while the Lincoln Civic Choir is now called Lincoln Choral Artists.

So why the changes?

The Players, after all, are entering their 15th season, and the 60-voice Choral Artists have been around longer, beginning their 32nd season.

For the Nebraska Chamber Players, it was about perception, said Van de Bogart, the ensemble's artistic director.

"This was a board decision," she said. "When board members went out talking about us, businesses would say, 'Why are they called Third Chair? It makes them sound not very good.'"

The name was the brainchild of Van de Bogart and former member Karen Sandene. They played (and still do) supporting instruments (piccolo, oboe, contra bassoon) in Lincoln's Symphony Orchestra.

"We all struggled quite a bit in making this decision," Van de Bogart said. "Our hard-core patron base is not terribly thrilled about it. They liked the name. It was quirky."

Not everybody was on board with the Civic Choir changing its name to Choral Artists, admitted director William A. Wyman.

"A few have an affinity for the old name," he said. "Some changes come hard. With the care we did this with, everybody realizes this wasn't a snap judgment. We didn't grab the name out of the air. It was a carefully thought-out process."

The Choral Artists worked with a consultant in coming up with the new name. The change came about because "we had outgrown the name and decided to change it." The word "civic" was the issue, Wyman said.

"That does suggest a certain kind of programming level," he said. "We feel we are at a different level of expertise now. That's not to suggest ‘civic' is bad. It just didn't really represent us anymore."

The Nebraska Chamber Players will begin its season Sept. 23. The Players will perform concerts at NET Studios.

The group also will present "Musically Speaking," a free series of music classes co-sponsored by NET Radio and the Osher Lifelong Learning Center. The first one is Sept. 20 at NET.

The Lincoln Choral Artists open its season Sept. 30, collaborating with TADA Productions on presenting "Big River" in concert in O'Donnell Auditorium.

​Reach Jeff Korbelik at 402-473-7213 or jkorbelik@journalstar.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LJSjeffkorbelik.

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