WMU News

Recent graduate earns spot with international choir

July 24, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A unique choral ensemble of 80 young singers from around the globe will give their only Michigan performance in Kalamazoo, and the only representative from the United States in this international choir is an April graduate of Western Michigan University.

The World Youth Choir, composed of singers ages 18 to 26 from some 30 countries will present a free concert Sunday, Aug. 4, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South St., Kalamazoo.

Each singer selected to be in the World Youth Choir must go through a highly competitive audition process, with the final selections made by an international jury of choral experts. The only singer from the United States selected for this year's choir is Erin Cramer, a recent vocal music graduate of WMU from Coopersville, Mich.

Each summer, the World Youth Choir meets in a different host country for two weeks of intense rehearsals on all new choral literature. At the conclusion of these rehearsals, the choir tours within the host country and sometimes neighboring countries. This year's choir is practicing at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the choir members will record an audio CD in the sound studios at WMU during their two-day stay with host families in Kalamazoo. Under the direction of the internationally regarded Estonian conductor Tonu Kaljuste the choir will perform in Chicago, Kalamazoo, Minneapolis and Madison, Wis.

Erin Cramer was also one of four Americans selected by audition for last year's World Youth Choir, which practiced and performed in Venezuela in 2001. "Unfortunately," says Cramer, "I had to have a tonsillectomy last summer, and I had to withdraw from the choir."

The disappointment of missing last year's tour in Venezuela coupled with the opportunity to perform this year in front of friends and family made qualifying again in 2002 very special, Cramer says.

While a student at WMU, Cramer was a five-year member of the University Chorale, which earned the grand prize at the International Robert Schumann Choral Competition in Germany in May. She was also a member of Westersingers, a student-organized chamber ensemble, and performed as a chorus singer in two WMU musical theatre productions.

Cramer has been accepted for graduate studies in vocal performance at the University of Minnesota. She is the daughter of Ann and Dale Cramer of Coopersville.

The World Youth Choir operates under the official patronage of the Jeunesses Musicales International and the International Federation for Choral Music.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thomas.myers@wmich.edu

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