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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire Concert Choir Honored by International Peace Organization

TO: News/Assignment Editors

FROM: Judy Berthiaume, Director

DATE: July 28, 2006

SUBJECT: UW-Eau Claire Concert Choir Honored by International Peace Organization

 

UW-Eau Claire's Concert Choir has received a prestigious award from an international organization that promotes peace, understanding and cultural exchange between the people of the two shores of the Mediterranean and the rest of the world.

Representatives from 21 nations approved the Concert Choir as a recipient of the award, which recognizes the choir's contribution to the choral art and the promotion of world culture. The award was presented by the president of the Fondazione Laboratorio Mediterraneo organization before a Concert Choir performance July 11 in Italy.

The award was given "to the Concert Choir of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, for their ability in combining their vocal style with the melody and rhythm of the Italian music, and for their contribution, through their art, in spreading the importance of the dialogue among cultures, testifying to the role of music as a language that brings people and countries together. Their music is a chorus of affirmation."

The organization has presented similar awards to world leaders such as Kiro Gligorov, first president of the Republic of Macedonia; King Juan Carlos I of Spain; King Hassan II of Morocco; King Hussein Bin Talal of Jordan; Cardinal Etchegaray, president emeritus of the Vatican Council for Justice and Peace; Julio Fuentes, a journalist and military correspondent killed while reporting in Afghanistan; the Israeli singer Noa; and Lea Rabin, former first lady of Israel.

Established in 1998, the award is given to people and institutions that engage in work in categories such as peace, culture, art, diplomacy and information exchange.

Concert Choir Director Gary Schwartzhoff, who accepted the special award on behalf of the Choir, said it's an honor for UW-Eau Claire and the Concert Choir to be recognized on the world stage in such a manner.

The Concert Choir completed eight European concert tours from 1964-2006, performing for occasions like the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the D-Day Invasion in France and in famous venues such as St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Iglesia de San Gines in Madrid, and the Jesuitkirche in Heidelberg. It wrapped up this tour of Italy with a performance in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican City in Rome.

For more information about the award, contact Schwartzhoff at schwargr@uwec.edu or alumni Concert Choir member Marcia Van Beek at vanbeemr@uwec.edu. Photos are also available.

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