VERMILLION, S.D. -- The nationally-recognized University of South Dakota Chamber Singers will begin a weeklong tour of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota on Friday, March 1 with a 7:30 p.m. performance in Sioux City, Iowa, at Augustana Lutheran Church, 600 Court St. The concert is part of an annual spring tour by the Chamber Singers and their conductor, David Holdhusen, Ph.D.
“Our students will have an opportunity to perform in multiple venues with different acoustics,” described Holdhusen, assistant professor of music and Director of Choral Activities at USD. “Because we are on the road for the entire week, the students have the opportunity to work like professional performers. I think that is an important experience for our young musicians and something they will really enjoy.”
This year’s musical program, “Creation,” includes classical and contemporary musical selections. Some of the songs featured in the program span a historical spectrum from the early music of Scarlatti’s “Exultate Deo” to Rachmaninoff’s “BogoroditseDevo” of the Romantic Period to more contemporary works by Eric Whitacre and Frank Ticheli, as well as numerous spirituals and folksongs. According to Holdhusen, the idea behind this year’s program is the birth of life and journey of man through time on earth. “We start the program with light and end in enteral light. I think it is a tremendous journey told through the magic of musical expression,” he added. “Audiences will truly experience this powerful story as they listen to the concert.”
The Chamber Singers have twice been recognized as a finalist for the American Prize in Choral Performance. Holdhusen said of the honor, “While we did not win the competition, to be recognized as one of the finest collegiate choirs in the country is truly exciting. It is a testament to quality musicians at USD and the dedication and artistry these singers exhibit in preparation for performance.”
In addition to performing in Sioux City, the choir will travel to Le Mars, Iowa, for a 1 p.m. performance on Saturday, March 2 at the St. John’s Lutheran Church, which is located at 201 1st Avenue NW. Later that evening, the choir will present its concert at Lakeside Presbyterian Church, 110 E Third St., in Storm Lake, Iowa. The Chamber Singers continue their tour with a performance at 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at St. Catherine of Siena, 1150 28th St., in Des Moines, Iowa, before touring the Kansas City metro area.
On Monday, March 4, the choir is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. concert at Trinity Lutheran Church, 5601 West 62nd St., in Mission, Kan., before heading east to Warrensburg, Mo. for a 7:30 p.m. concert on March 5 at First United Methodist Church,141 E. Gay. Additionally, during this time in the Kansas City area, the choir will make several school visits to share their music with students.
The final performances of this year’s tour will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7 in Omaha, Neb. at Dundee Presbyterian Church, located at 5312 Underwood Ave., before returning to South Dakota on Friday, March 8 for a closing concert at 7:30 p.m. at 1st Congregational Church in Sioux Falls, 300 S. Minnesota Ave. This performance has become a traditional ending point for the choir, according to Holdhusen, one they always look forward to. Admission is free to all of the Chamber Singers’ performances; however, a freewill offering will be collected at each venue.
“One of the most difficult tasks for a tour like this is choosing a repertoire,” explained Holdhusen, who noted that copies of the Singers’ CD “Nature’s Witness” will be on sale at all tour locations. “The program starts to come together with the selection of a few key pieces. Once those are in place, a theme was developed and additional music was chosen to fill out the program. It’s my goal to create a dramatic and emotional journey that speaks to the audience throughout the concert.”
The Chamber Singers, the premiere vocal ensemble at USD with 32 members, features graduate and undergraduate students selected through auditions from the entire university student body. Its repertoire, which is primarily a cappella, includes music from the Renaissance to the present in a wide variety of styles. They have performed for state and regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference and have appeared on the public radio program “Going Beyond Words.” The ensemble has twice been selected as a finalist for the American Prize in Choral Performance (College and University Division).
For more information about University Music Ensembles, please visit www.usd.edu/cfa/Music/ensembles.cfm. For information about the Chamber Singers’ 2013 Spring Tour, please contact Holdhusen at (605) 677-5721 or email David.Holdhusen@usd.edu.