VERMILLION, S.D. -- The nationally-recognized University of South Dakota Chamber Singers will begin a weeklong tour of Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota on Friday, March 7 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,” said Holdhusen, associate 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, “The American Voyage,” includes classical and contemporary musical selections. Some of the songs featured in the program span a historical spectrum from the early music of William Byrd’s “Mass for Five Voices” to more contemporary works by David Conte and Jonny Priano, as well as numerous spirituals, folksongs and music of Americana. According to Holdhusen, the idea behind this year’s program is the birth and development of the United States. “We start the program with music from Europe, specifically England, and move to the birth of a new nation. 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 been recognized as a finalist for the American Prize in Choral Performance. Holdhusen said of the honor, “While we have not won 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 LaCrosse, Wis., for a 7 p.m. performance on Saturday, March 8 at the North Presbyterian Church, which is located at 1327 North Salem Rd. The Chamber Singers move on to Minnesota to continue their tour with a performance at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 9 at Christ United Methodist Church, 400 Fifth Avenue SW, in Rochester, Minn. On Monday, March 10, the choir is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. concert at First Lutheran Church, 1114 W. Traverse Rd., in St. Peter, Minn., before heading east to the Twin Cities area.
The ensemble will be in Bloomington, Minn. for a 7:30 p.m. concert on March 11 at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 8600 Fremont Avenue S. Additionally, during this time in the Twin Cities area, the choir will make several high school visits to share their music with students.
The final performances of this year’s tour will be at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 13 in Worthington, Minn. at Worthington Christian Church, located at 1501 N. Douglas Ave., before returning to South Dakota on Friday, March 14 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. 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’ new CD “Yours in Song” 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 selected 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 been selected multiple times 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’ 2014 Spring Tour, please contact Holdhusen at (605) 677-5721 or email David.Holdhusen@usd.edu.