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Women's Concert Chorale to perform spring concert May 1

RELEASED: April 20, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Women's Concert Chorale will perform its spring concert at 5 p.m. May 1 in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

The concert's theme is "Stand Together: Community in Music." According to Dr. Alan Rieck, associate professor of music and WoCo conductor, the group has tried throughout the semester to focus on what it means to be a community, and the concert will reflect that experience.

The concert will be in three sections: Time and Community, East Meets West and Community Together. The first section focuses on how people today are connected to others who may have lived in a different time. A world premiere of the piece "Abendlied" by sophomore Andrew Steffen, New Richmond, will be featured in the first section of the concert. The piece is a response to the illness of Steffen's grandfather.

Steffen said he was originally inspired by Josef Rheinberger's "Abendlied" and had no intention of relating the piece to his grandfather. After completing the piece, however, Steffen's grandfather's illness became very serious and he found the "honesty and simplicity" of the text very poignant in his situation.

The East Meets West section of the concert will consist of a single piece, "Missa Kenya," by Dr. Paul Basler. It combines musical elements of Africa and America.

"Two years ago WoCo went to South Africa, which was a significant experience for most of us because of the people with whom we interacted," Rieck said. "The community we shared with them has changed our lives."

The final portion of the concert will focus on the experiences that the choir had as a community throughout the year.

"It will be sentimental as well as inviting, since we hope to find a way to allow the audience to share with our experiences," Rieck said.

The concert will feature two student conductors, seniors Kristin Borski, Wisconsin Rapids; and Alicia Fitchett, Green Bay; as well as three pianists, senior Melissa Opitz, Saukville; junior Alison Wheeler, Viroqua; and sophomore Shelby Brinkman, Coon Rapids, Minn.

WoCo, one of six choral ensembles at UW-Eau Claire, specializes in music written specifically for treble ensembles. The group is made up of more than 60 female students from a variety of academic programs within the university.

Tickets, available online and at the University 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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MC/RD/DW

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