WMU News

Festival features 1,500-voice choral finale

March 6, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- The 64th annual Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival will be held on the Western Michigan University campus Thursday, March 14. SWMVF is one of the largest, oldest, and most successful high school choral festivals in the United States. This year's festival will draw participants from 34 southwest Michigan high schools. [Click for list]

The day-long festival will culminate in a 7 p.m. performance in WMU's Miller Auditorium. The concert is open to the public and free of charge. After the 1,446-voice Festival Chorus is seated in the first two levels of the auditorium, the audience will be seated in the balcony. Guest conductor Robert Bode will lead the evening performance, which includes the Festival Chorus and the select 51-member 2002 Honors Choir. There will also be performances by the University Chorale under the direction of Dr. Joe Miller and the University Chamber Orchestra conducted by Chung Park.

The concert will feature the Honors Choir performing Morten Lauridsen's En Une Seule Fleur, Robert Pearsall's Lay a Garland, and Alexandru Pascanu's Chindia. The Festival Chorus will perform William McKie's We wait for Thy loving kindness, O God with organ accompaniment and a tenor soloist selected from the Honors Choir; Franz Joseph Haydn's Te Deum for the Empress Marie Therese, accompanied by the chamber orchestra and organ; and John Rutter's Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind. The concert will close with the Festival Chorus presenting one of the first performances of a new work by John David Earnest. Clementine will be accompanied by two pianos, each played by two people. The pianists will be Brian Rose, long-time festival accompanist; Joe Miller, WMU's Director of Choral Studies; and high school choir directors Cynthia Borik of Portage Central and Pamela Pierson of Coloma. Organ accompaniment will be provided by Katharine Hoogerheide, a graduate student in the School of Music.

Since its inception in 1935 the Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival has been dedicated to one goal, "To provide an experience in mass singing of good repertoire under the leadership of an inspiring conductor." Each year a noted guest conductor is invited to work with select students in a fall workshop and conduct the day-long festival in March. This year the guest conductor is Dr. Robert Bode.

Participating high schools and their directors

Albion, Tony J. Shapow
Allegan, Julie Zellmer
Bangor, Miriam Esper
Battle Creek Central, Seth D. Gardner
Brandywine, Denise Boger
Britton-Macon, William E. Smith
Buchanan, Carol McKean
Caledonia, Carol Gess
Coloma, Pam Pierson
Edwardsburg, David Carew
Grand Rapids Central, Debra Perry
Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills, Vanessa A. Allen
Grand Rapids Union, Mary Lou Kosty
Grandville, Rick Gossett
Gull Lake, Andrea Gleason
Hamilton, Joel Bouwman
Hartford, Steve Zebell
Hastings, Patti LaJoye
Kalamazoo Loy Norrix, Marie Kerstetter
Lawton, Gary Oegema
Marcellus, Malinda L. Eyster
Mattawan, David Hook
Niles, Matt Hunckler
Rockford, David Duiven
South Haven, Cole Tyrrell
Stevensville Lakeshore, Kelly Ann Westgate
Sturgis, Marcia Pustelnik
Three Oaks River Valley, Robert Hay
Three Rivers, Joel W. Moore
Watervliet, Tami Brush
Wayland Union, Jan Laman
Wyoming Lee, Mary M. Rozeboom
Wyoming Park, Peggy B. Patrick
Wyoming Rogers, Janet S. Nichols

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Media contact: Kevin West, 269 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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