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Women's Concert Chorale to Tour South Africa

RELEASED: March 4, 2009

Read a blog by members of the Women's Concert Chorale, where they will share their experiences while touring South Africa from March 12-22.

EAU CLAIRE — The Women's Concert Chorale will represent the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on a tour of South Africa March 12-22. The 69-member choir will be led by conductor Alan Rieck, associate professor of music, and joined by 11 other guests.

At the beginning of the semester, Rieck asked the choir to ponder a question: How do I make sense out of my experiences? This question has guided the group in its interpretation of the music it performs and the lessons emphasized by Rieck in each rehearsal.

"It is my hope that the trip will help students to see the world in a different way, challenge some of the pre-conceived notions that may be inhibiting their clearer vision, and help them see how others have worked through difficulties in their lives," Rieck said, noting the ensemble is eager to experience a new culture and share their own.

"We are bringing works by American composers in hopes of relaying a message of what American traditions can be," said WOCO vice-president Marissa Shook, a senior from Burnsville, Minn. "We can only imagine the cultural differences we will see when making music. Being there for the first-hand exchange is what I am most looking forward to."

The itinerary includes an exchange with the Stellenbosch University Schola Cantorum in Cape Town, a formal concert at St. Stithian School in Johannesburg and an informal performance at the historic Regina Mundi Church in Soweto. Non-musical events include a safari tour of Pilanesberg National Park, a visit to Lesedi Cultural Village and a tour of the Apartheid Museum. The group also will tour Robben Island, holding place of Nelson Mandela for 18 years. The tour includes a visit to Mandela's cell.

For more information about the tour or about Women's Concert Chorale, contact Rieck at 715-836-3634 or rieckaj@uwec.edu.

-30-

LB/NW

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