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Annual festival brings 1,300 singers to campus

Feb. 24, 2009

KALAMAZOO--The 71st annual Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival will bring 1,300 talented singers from more than 30 high schools to Western Michigan University for a daylong celebration that will culminate in a free, public performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 12, in Miller Auditorium.

Guest conductor Dr. Jerry McCoy, professor and director of choral studies at the University of North Texas, will lead the evening's program, which includes five selections by the 1,300-member Festival Chorus and three by the 60-member Honors Choir. A guest performance will feature Seraphic Fire, a professional choir based in Miami. WMU's University Chorale will also perform, under the direction of Dr. James K. Bass.

The large Festival Chorus will sing in four different languages: English, Russian, German and French. The ensemble will perform VIDA's "Famine Song," Serge Rachmaninoff's "Bogoroditse Devo," Brant Adams' "Down by the Riverside," Felix Mendelssohn's "Verleih uns Frieden" and Donald Patriquin's "Ah, si mon moine voulait danser." The auditioned Honors Choir will perform Mozart's "Regina Coeli," Paul Aitken's "Flanders Fields" and Moses Hogan's "The Battle of Jericho."

The Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival is one of the largest, oldest and most successful high school choral events in the United States. Since its inception in 1935, it has been providing high school students with an experience in mass singing of quality repertoire under the direction of inspiring conductors.

For more information, visit the Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival online or contact Carl Doubleday, associate director of the School of Music, at carl.doubleday@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4681.

Participating high schools and choral directors

  • Albion, Tony Shapow
  • Allegan, Rebecca Balkon
  • Bangor, Andrea Gay
  • Brandywine, Denise Boger
  • Britton-Macon, Doyle M. Rodenbeck
  • Buchanan, Sharon O'B. Bitterman
  • Caledonia, Carol Gess
  • Centreville, Jared Cavis
  • Coloma, Rebecca Selvidge
  • Comstock, Heidi Pelkey
  • Covert, Curtis Gulledge
  • Dowagiac Union, Jeff Robinson
  • Grand Rapids South Christian, Douglas Rosema
  • Gull Lake, David Woolf
  • Hartford, Steve Zebell
  • Hastings, Patti LaJoye
  • Hopkins, Jacob Oaster
  • Kalamazoo Central, Fred Colgren
  • Kalamazoo Loy Norrix, Taryn Fooy
  • Lawton, Gary Oegema
  • Mattawan, David Hook
  • Niles, Matt Hunckler
  • Paw Paw, Barb Baltmanis
  • Portage, Cindy Hunter
  • River Valley, Robert Hay
  • South Haven, Cole Tyrrell
  • Stevensville Lakeshore, Adam Wurst
  • Sturgis, Eric Cadena
  • Watervliet, Tami Brush
  • Wayland, Jan Laman

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

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400