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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Choirs selected for performance in European tour

    Nikita Stepanek
    Nikita Stepanek/ The Daily Wildcat The Symphonic Choir rehearses on Tuesday in the Music Building. The choir has been invited to perform in Vienna, Austria.

    This spring, a select group of 80 students and faculty members from the UA’s Arizona and Symphonic Choirs will travel to Vienna to perform in the Varna International Music Festival tour.

    The choirs will perform in Vienna’s Wiener Musikverein on May 6, then Dvorak Hall in Prague on May 7. The festival sent an invitation to the groups after seeing the choirs’ talents, said Bruce Chamberlain, director of choral activities and conductor for the Arizona Choir, a group made up of graduate students.

    “The Varna International Festival had taken note that our graduate conducting students had success at the [American Choral Conductors Association] conducting competition,” Chamberlain said. “They contacted us and asked if we were interested in performing at a high level.”

    Elizabeth Schauer, associate director of choral activities and conductor for the Symphonic Choir, said the invitation is quite significant for the students involved.

    “Some students may have traveled abroad before,” Shauer said, “but this is the only time in their life that they will be invited to perform this kind of work.”

    Among the students selected to attend the festival was Levi Pratt, a junior studying voice performance and choral music education and a tenor one in the Symphonic Choir. The announcement was made after calling both choirs together for a meeting — which only happens on special occassions, Pratt said.
    Now, with an official invitation, Pratt said he and many of his choir-mates are looking forward to the opportunity the trip will bring.

    “When we found out we were invited to Vienna and [the choir directors accepted to sing, it was a huge honor, and the majority of us were definitely excited,” Pratt said. “Obviously it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

    Pratt added that the trip will make for a unique opportunity to better interpret some of the music they’ve been singing.

    “We sing quite frequently in German, but most of us have not been to Germany,” he added. “It will be exciting to see some of the places we sing about or where the composers have lived or what they were thinking.”

    The tour management has been accomodating to the choirs in terms of the venues they’ll be performing in, Chamberlain said. Vienna’s Musikverein, he added, was an obvious choice.

    “They let us pick where we wanted to perform,” Chamberlain said. “The Musikverein is the concert hall.”

    The piece they will be performing, “Stabat Mater,” made its original debut in Dvorak Hall in 1880.

    The performances will stay with the students long after they graduate, Shauer said.

    “This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these students,” Schauer said, adding that this is a trip that students will be able to tell their grandchildren about.

    The students are required to make a financial commitment to the trip, Pratt added, and many have begun their own efforts to help pay the fees.

    “They are taking extra jobs to contribute,” Schauer said. “I see the passion with which they are committing themselves.”

    Performances like the ones in Vienna give the students a unique chance to gather experiences outside of the standard performances that occur on campus every year, Chamberlain said.

    “A mountain-peak experience like this one allows these students to get their careers off the ground,” Chamberlain said. “It sets the students apart and gives them opportunities they can’t get anywhere else.”
    — Kyle Mittan contributed reporting to this article.

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