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The Singing Statesmen
To Perform in New York City
MAILED: Feb. 4, 2003
EAU CLAIRE — One of the premier university male choruses in the United States, The Singing Statesmen of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, will celebrate its 35th anniversary season with performances in New York City Feb. 14 and 15.
The male choral ensemble will present three sessions Feb. 14 at the American Choral Directors Association 2003 National Convention. On Feb. 15 The Statesmen will perform a UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association Concert in the Registry Room of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
The ACDA is one of the largest professional organizations for choral directors in the world, with a membership of over 18,000 directors representing one million singers. Composed of choral musicians from schools, universities, churches, communities and the music industry, the ACDA holds its national convention every two years, with each of the seven ACDA divisions meeting on the off years. More than 6,000 ACDA members will attend the 2003 national convention.
"You're not accepted to sing at the ACDA National Convention unless you're an outstanding choir," said Joshua Andrew, a member of The Singing Statesmen and ACDA student chapter member. "This is an acknowledgment of the hard work invested by the membership and by the conductor."
The ACDA National Convention performance is the second in the history of The Statesmen. In 1983, the ensemble performed at the national convention in Nashville, Tenn.
Forty-one choirs from across the United States will perform at the 2003 national convention. The choirs submitted audition tapes that were reviewed at the state, division and national levels. Once the ensembles were approved at the national level, the 2003 national convention program committee made the final selections and extended invitations to the ensembles.
The Singing Statesmen received the invitation to sing at the 2003 national convention in June 2002, but they didn't accept the offer until September when the students returned to campus. While the Statesmen and their conductor, Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, realized that this was a prestigious offer, money was a deciding factor. The $30,000 budget has been financed through major gifts provided by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation; a $3,000 gift from the Student Senate, as well as the budgeted tour funds; and a $6,000 gift from an anonymous donor. In addition, each Statesmen member will pay $200 plus the cost of their meals.
"A performance at the ACDA National Convention is the Super Bowl of choral music," said Schwartzhoff, who is also the director of choral studies at UW-Eau Claire. "The opportunity to perform at the ACDA National Convention is a great honor to the university, the ensemble and the conductor."
During the convention, The Statesmen will be joined on stage by Dr. Ethan Sperry, assistant professor of music at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. The session is titled, "Finding and Creating New Repertoire for the Male Choir."
Since 1991, Schwartzhoff has had 13 choirs perform at the state, division and national ACDA conventions. To have 13 opportunities to perform at that level in 12 years, two of them at nationals, is a feat that is recognized and respected by colleagues throughout the country, said Schwartzhoff.
At the ACDA National Convention and Ellis Island concerts, the repertoire will include "Benedicta Sit" a Gregorian Chant; "Ave Verum Corpus" by William Byrd; and "Ave Maria" by Grzegorz G. Gorczycki. The Statesmen will continue with "Brothers, Sing On" by Edvard Grieg and "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" by William Steffe, accompanied on piano by freshman Dan Mathews, Woodbury, Minn.
At the Ellis Island concert, following an introduction by Chancellor Donald Mash, The Statesmen will perform for an audience that will include 75 UW-Eau Claire alumni. This performance will conclude with songs of the university, including "Hail University," "Alma Mater" and "The Fight Song."
In addition to the ACDA performances and several other performances in the United States, The Statesmen have represented the university on four European concert tours, in 1980, 1990, 1996 and 2002.
Morris D. Hayes established The Singing Statesmen in 1967 as an outstanding choral ensemble for male voices. Since it's beginning, the ensemble has had three conductors. Hayes from 1967 to1988; Bruce G. McInnes from 1988 to1990; and Schwartzhoff from 1991 to the present.
The Statesmen perform repertoire from the Renaissance through the contemporary period. Its members represent diverse academic disciplines but share a common respect and admiration for choral music. The Singing Statesmen is one of seven choral ensembles at "Wisconsin's Singing University," UW-Eau Claire.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: February 3, 2003