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'Celebration of Choral Music' concert to feature guest artist March 11

RELEASED: March 3, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will present the 18th annual Celebration of Choral Music, sponsored by the UW-Eau Claire student chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, at 5 p.m. March 11 in Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

The ACDA concert will feature, in order of performance, The Singing Statesmen, Women's Chorus, Women's Concert Chorale and Concert Choir. Artist-in-residence Dr. Paul Basler will perform on French horn.

Basler is widely recognized as one of the most important instructors of horn in the United States, and his textbooks are used by hundreds of schools of music and conservatories around the world. He is currently a professor of music at the University of Florida in Gainsville. He will work with the UW-Eau Claire choirs March 9-11, participating in rehearsals and conducting a lecture. "A Wisconsin Composer’s Journey" will be presented at 11 a.m. in Haas Fine Arts Center Room 143 and is open to the public.

"In class we talk about the human experience and expression of each piece, and having the composer in the room, talking us through his process, adds so much to the overall performance and is an incredible learning opportunity," said Kyrsten Olson, president of the ACDA student chapter, member of Concert Choir and assistant conductor for Women's Chorus. "We are incredibly blessed to have such a well-known and respected composer on our campus."

The Singing Statesmen, directed by Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, professor of music, will open with Basler's "Sing to the Lord," with Basler on French horn. Other selections include "Ave Dulcissima Maria" by Morten Lauridsen; "It Is a Beauteous Evening" by Dr. Ethan Wickman, UW-Eau Claire professor of music, featuring tenor and UW-Eau Claire lecturer Dr. Mark Mowry; and "Tu Lo Sai," a passionate love song composed in the 17th century by Giuseppe Torelli and arranged by James Mulholland, a composer and arranger who is often commissioned by high schools and universities, as well as the ACDA. The featured soloist will be Bill Seipel. Alex Chilsen, Alexander Jacques and Andrew Steffen will accompany the choir on piano.

Women's Chorus, under the direction of Richard Moses, lecturer of music, will perform Basler's "Sing a New Song to the Lord," with Sarah Kubiatowicz on oboe and two additional selections accompanied by pianist Hannah Olson.

Women's Concert Chorale, directed by Dr. Alan Rieck, associate professor of music, will perform Basler's "Missa Kenya," which means "Kenyan Mass." Basler spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Nairobi and weaves African styles with traditional Latin Mass parts ("Kyrie," "Gloria," "Sanctus" and "Agnus Dei"). Melissa Opitz and Allison Wheeler will accompany on piano, with Dr. Jeffery Crowell, associate professor of music, on percussion and Basler on French horn.

Concert Choir, also under the direction of Schwartzhoff, will begin with Basler's "Excelsior," featuring Jason Marshall, Joseph Aumann, Nicole Brellenthin and Britta Gilbertson, trombone quartet, and Tyler Bartelt, tambourine. A composition of "Agnus Dei" by Samuel Barber and other selections will be performed before the choir concludes with Basler's "Alleluia," with Jeffery Crowell on timpani, Bartelt on tambourine and Basler on French horn.

"I am looking forward to serving as an artist-in-residence at 'Wisconsin's Singing University,'" Basler said. "As a native of Wisconsin, this opportunity is a very exciting one for me."

Basler's residency is sponsored in part by the UW-Eau Claire Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the department of music and theatre arts.

Tickets, available at the 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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RD/AH

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