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UW-Eau Claire's Singing Statesmen
To Celebrate 35th Anniversary
MAILED: Oct. 4, 2002
EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Singing Statesmen will celebrate their 35th anniversary with a Varsity show concert and a reunion dinner and reception during Homecoming 2002.
One of seven choral ensembles at UW-Eau Claire, “Wisconsin’s Singing University,” The Singing Statesmen, under the direction of Dr. Gary R. Schwartzhoff since 1991, has been recognized as one of the premier university male choruses in the United States.
Founded by Morris D. Hayes in 1967, the group’s history is rich in noted performances both at home and abroad, including their most recent summer of 2002 trip to Austria and Italy, where they reportedly performed for appreciative audiences in several important historic locations, including Dom zu Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria, and Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican in Rome.
Ada Bors, originator and former coordinator of UW-Eau Claire’s internationally acclaimed Viennese Ball, who attended the ensemble’s performance in the Karlskirche in Vienna, said that wonderful attendance and the audience’s enthusiastic response, including a long standing ovation, made that concert a highpoint for many of the Statesmen she spoke with. For an encore, Schwartzhoff led the group in singing the UW-Eau Claire Alma Mater.
“It was very moving and memorable,” said Bors.
Memorable is also the way several former Statesmen describe the years they spent traveling and performing with this well-regarded male chorus.
Dan Wolfgram, a Statesman from 1985 to 1989, said that being a member of The Singing Statesmen and his experiences at UW-Eau Claire literally changed his life, motivating him to become a music educator.
“I look back on my days in The Singing Statesmen as the true highlight of my time at Eau Claire” said Wolfgram. “I take great pride in being associated with such a fine tradition of singers that extends across the country. I have felt pride meeting with current members and knowing that we have a common bond. I look forward to the group’s continued success and rest assured that the University recognizes the enormous prestige this unique ensemble brings to the campus. I know that I share the enthusiasm when I proudly profess, “Once a Statesmen, Always a Statesmen!”
Wolfgram has been a high school choir director for 14 years.
Trent Brown, a 1999 UW-Eau Claire graduate and current director of choral studies at Waukesha South High School, expressed similarly strong sentiments.
“Perhaps the best aspect of being in The Singing Statesmen was the fraternal relationships which developed with the Statesmen brothers … amazingly, we still stay in touch via phone, e-mail, and annual get-togethers,” said Brown. “When all is said and done, it was the experience of making music that strengthened our friendships. We were fortunate to have a director who was so passionate about music that it made us work during rehearsals to be the best group we could. Statesmen was a wonderful experience that I think about almost every day,” Brown said.
Although these two former Statesmen were both music majors, Schwartzhoff says The Singing Statesmen include members from diverse academic disciplines who share a common respect and admiration for choral music. The group’s repertoire includes music from the Renaissance through the Contemporary Period.
The Statesmen have released four recordings over the years: “In Concert,” the first long play recording, released in 1982; the “25th Anniversary” compact disc featuring repertoire from throughout their first 25 years, released in 1993; “Musik,” released during the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar in 1996; and “Volume,” released in May 1998 during their 30th anniversary celebration. Their latest compact disc, “2002 European Tour,” will be released this month.
Schwartzhoff also is proud that The Singing Statesmen have once again been asked to perform at the American Choral Directors Association National Convention in New York City Feb. 12-15, 2003. The group last performed at the ACDA National Convention in 1983.
“A performance at the National Convention of the American Choral Directors Association is the highest honor that can be bestowed on this ensemble,” Schwartzhoff said.
For this year’s homecoming celebration, The Singing Statesmen will perform at the Varsity Night Live! show, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in Zorn Arena. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for this general admission event. Tickets are available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727 or toll free 1-800-949-UWEC, and will be sold at the door.
Statesmen past and present can celebrate their special camaraderie at the 35th reunion dinner and reception being held 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, in the Dulany Inn, Davies Center.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: October 22, 2002