LEAD | The University of South Dakota Chamber Singers and their conductor, David Holdhusen, Ph.D., will perform on Sunday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at the Homestake Opera House, 313 W. Main St., in Lead.
The concert is part of a weeklong tour by the ensemble during the university’s spring break from March 2-9.
“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.”
Admission is free to the Chamber Singers’ performances. However, a freewill offering will be collected at each venue. Additionally, copies of the Singers’ latest CD “Let Me Fly“ will be on sale at all tour locations.
Holdhusen said choosing repertoire is one of the most difficult tasks for a tour. The process begins with the selection of a few key pieces, leading to development of a theme, with additional music 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,” he said.
This year’s musical program, “Journey of Enlightenment” includes classical and contemporary musical selections spanning a variety of languages and cultures.
During the course of the concert, the choir will sing a wide variety of styles and languages, as well as traditional choral music, folksongs and spirituals.
Some of the songs featured in the program include “Conversion of Saul” by Z. Randall Stroope, William Byrd's “Ave verum Corpus,” and Frank Ticheli’s “There Will Be Rest,” as well as a new selection by Jonny Priano.
The program also includes several selections from cultures around the world, including, Brazil, Cuba, Russia, Korea, and Africa.
According to Holdhusen, the idea behind this year’s program is a person's journey throughout the world in search of cultural understanding and self-discovery.
“We start the program with music from “traditional” worship and expand to encompass a great deal of culture throughout the journey.
“The choir will sing selections in nine languages as the program progresses to illustrate travels around the world before finally finding enlightenment.” He added, “I think it is a tremendous journey told through the magic of musical expression.”
The Chamber Singers have developed a strong reputation among critics for their artistry and expression. They have recently been honored by the American Prize for their sustained excellence, heralded by critics for their recordings, and have been selected to perform at state and regional conferences.
Chamber Singers is the premiere vocal ensemble at the USD. It is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students selected through audition from the entire university student body.
Known to critics for “creating a choral concert of stunning beauty and musical understanding,” its repertoire, which is primarily a cappella, includes music from the Renaissance to the present in a wide variety of styles.
The ensemble presents formal concerts on campus each semester and its annual tour has taken the group throughout the United States and Europe.
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 Chamber Singers, on several occasions, have been selected as a finalist for the American Prize in Choral Performance (College and University Division) and in 2014 were named one of the organizations first Honored Artists for its “sustained excellence.”