Festival brings more than 900 singers to campus

Contact: Tonya Durlach

KALAMAZOO--The 74th annual Southwestern Michigan Vocal Festival will bring more than 900 talented singers from 22 high schools to Western Michigan University for a daylong celebration that will culminate in a free, public performance at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 15, in Miller Auditorium.

Guest conductor Peter Bagley from the University of Connecticut will lead the evening's program, which includes five selections by the 900-member Festival Chorus and three by the select 62-member Honors Choir. A guest performance will feature WMU's University Chorale.

The large Festival Chorus will perform Williametta Spencer's "At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners," Josephine Poelinitz's "City Called Heaven," Martin Shaw's "With a Voice of Singing," Jason McCoy's "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come" and Kirby Shaw's popular arrangement of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." The auditioned high school Honors Choir will perform Joseph Haydn's "Achieved Is the Glorious Work" from his oratorio The Creation, Benjamin Britten's "Lift Boy" and Joseph M. Martin's "The Awakening."

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 Meredith Bradford in the WMU School of Music at meredith.bradford@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4678.

Participating high schools and choral directors

Albion, Tony J. Shapow
Allegan, Rebecca Balkon
Berrien Springs, Carrie VanDenburgh
Brandywine, Denise Boger
Coloma, Rebecca Selvidge
Comstock, Heidi Pelkey
Dowagiac Union, Jeff Robinson
Hamilton, Holly Israels
Hartford, John Murphy
Hastings, Patti LaJoye
Hopkins, Jacob Oaster
Kalamazoo Central, Fred Colgren
Kalamazoo Christian, Dennis Burchett
Kalamazoo Loy Norrix, Taryn Fooy
Lawton, Gary Oegema
Mattawan, David Hook
Niles, Matt Hunckler
River Valley, Ryan Kasperski
South Haven, Benjamin Rodgers
Stevensville Lakeshore, Katie Rohwer
Watervliet, Tami Brush
Wayland Union, Diana Hall