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Annual Celebration of Choral Music to include artist-in-residence Jerry Blackstone

February 27, 2012
 Blackstone
Dr. Jerry Blackstone
EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will present the 19th annual Celebration of Choral Music concert, sponsored by the student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, at 5 p.m. March 9 in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

The artist-in-residence for March 6-9 will be conductor Dr. Jerry Blackstone, whose residency is sponsored in part by the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the department of music and theatre arts.

Blackstone, director of choirs and chair of the conducting department at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, is one of the country's leading conductor-teachers. He conducts the Chamber Choir, teaches conducting at a graduate level and administers a choral program of 11 choirs. His students have received first-place awards and have been finalists in the graduate and undergraduate divisions of the ACDA biennial National Choral Conducting Awards competition. Blackstone has received two Grammy awards — Best Choral Performance and Best Classical Album — for the Naxos recording of William Bolcom's "Songs of Innocence and Experience." He also received the 2006 Maynard Klein Lifetime Achievement Award from the ACDA-Michigan chapter. He has been a guest conductor and workshop presenter in more than 30 states as well as in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

While at UW-Eau Claire Blackstone will work with six choir ensembles. He also will present the lecture "Compelling Performances" at 11 a.m. March 9 in Room 143 of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

"UW-Eau Claire has had the enviable opportunity to have the nation's finest choral conductors and composers serve as artists-in-residence on our campus for more than a decade," said Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, professor of music. "We are very excited to welcome Dr. Jerry Blackstone to 'Wisconsin's Singing University' for a residency from March 6-9."

The March 9 concert will feature UW-Eau Claire's Women's Chorus, The Singing Statesmen, Women's Concert Chorale and Concert Choir.

Women's Chorus, directed by Richard Moses, lecturer of music, will open with "Duo Seraphim" by Tomás Luis de Victoria. It will follow with "Sakura" by Linda Spevacek and "Prayer of the Children" by Kurt Bestor and Andrea Klouse. It will end with "Zion Hears the Watchmen Singing" by Dietrich Buxtehude. Freshman Kayla Shoemaker, Eau Claire, will accompany on piano.

The Singing Statesmen, under the direction of Schwartzhoff, will perform "Miserere Mei, Deus" by Gregorio Allegri, "Pater Noster" by Franz Biebl, "Legacy" by Z. Randall Stroope, and "On Music" by David Dickau, featuring senior Jory Tuftin, Brooklyn Park, Minn., on cello. Pianists will be senior Alexander Jacques, Oneida, and junior Andrew Steffen, New Richmond.

Women's Concert Chorale, directed by Dr. Alan Rieck, associate professor of music, will begin with "Kyrie" by Antonio Lotti. It will follow with "Wandl' ich in dem Wald des Abends" by Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, "Aglepta" by Arne Mellnäs, "Lily of the Valley" by Moses Hogan and "Sisters" by Gwyneth Walker. Seniors Melissa Opitz, Saukville, and Alison Wheeler, Viroqua, will accompany on piano.

Concert Choir, also under the direction of Schwartzhoff, will open with "Hosanna to the Son of David" by Orlando Gibbons. "Four Motets" by Johannes Brahms, "Ubi Caritas" by Ola Gjeilo and "O Nata Lux" by Steffen will follow. The concert will conclude with "Sure on This Shining Night" by Morten Lauridsen. Jacques and Steffen will accompany on piano.

"For years I have heard rave reviews about singing and choral ensembles at 'Wisconsin's Singing University,' the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire," Blackstone said. "I am honored to be invited to be the 2012 artist-in-residence and very much look forward to interacting with students and faculty during my three days on campus."

Tickets to the March 9 Celebration of Choral Music concert, available at the Service Center, 715-836-3727 or 800-949-UWEC, are $6 for the general public; $4 for those 62 and older, 17 and younger, and faculty and staff with a university ID; and $1.50 for students with a university ID.

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OJ/JB/DW

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