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Four from WMU represent U.S. in World Youth Choir

June 21, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Four of the five U.S. vocalists selected to participate in this year's World Youth Choir summer tour are from Western Michigan University and the fifth has ties to WMU.

Three WMU students and a University alumnus are part of an 80-member group that will travel to South Africa July 9, perform throughout that country as well as in Namibia, and return home Aug. 4.

The choir, a UNESCO-designated Artist for Peace, brings together scores of young people from different nations as well as political and cultural backgrounds. Its membership includes new and re-invited vocalists from Western Europe, Asia, Israel, South Africa, Argentina and Mexico.

Representing the United States

Nathaniel Adams is a WMU senior from St. Charles, Ill., who is majoring in music.

Joseph Beutel is a WMU alumnus from Fort Wayne, Ind., who earned a bachelor's degree in vocal performance in April.

David Gailey is a WMU junior from Haslett, Mich., who is majoring in vocal performance.

Kathryn Rohwer is a senior from Portage, Mich., who is majoring in music education.

A fifth U.S. representative, Eric Johnson from Portage, Mich., has attended WMU music camps and had the opportunity to audition for the World Youth Choir through WMU.

The International Center for Choral Music in Belgium organized the World Youth Choir in 1989, and participating countries may annually submit no more than 12 membership applications. Each year, the full choir participates in a lengthy tour of a host country and neighboring states in summer and 30 to 40 choir members take part in a shorter European tour in winter.

This year, choir members will rehearse in Stellenbosch, South Africa until July 19, then kick off their 2007 summer tour with a Cape Town concert. They'll spend the next two and a half weeks performing in major cultural centers and concert halls in South Africa and Namibia.

Since its creation, the World Youth Choir has established one of the most interesting musical and intercultural experiences offered to young musicians. The choir's repertoire focuses mainly on 20th-century and contemporary a cappella music with a mix of lesser-known pieces combined with masterworks.

Prospective singers perform a live audition in their home countries that is recorded and sent to the International Center for Choral Music. Choir members are selected by high-level choral conductors at an international jury gathering in late March in Belgium.

Among the choral conductors who sit on the jury are those slated to lead the next summer session. For 2007, these conductors are Peter Dijkstra of the Netherlands and Sidumo Jacobs of South Africa.

For more information, visit www.worldyouthchoir.org or contact choir member and WMU student Nathaniel Adams at nathanieladams006@hotmail.com.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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