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 A Love of Music

UMD University Singers:
Performing at the Minnesota Collegiate Choral Festival

university singers
Members of the UMD University Singers

The UMD University Singers, directed by Stanley R. Wold, will perform at the 2009 Minnesota Collegiate Choral Festival on Saturday, November 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Benson Great Hall on the Bethel University campus, located at 3900 Bethel Drive in St. Paul, Minnesota. The event will not only showcase the talents of the UMD University Singers, but also the Minnesota State University-Mankato Concert Choir, Northwestern College Concert Choir, Saint John's University Men's Chorus, and University of St. Thomas Chamber Singers.

In addition, the five choirs will combine in a grand finale under the direction of Craig Jessop, head of the music department at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. The combined choirs will premiere a choral work that was composed specifically for this festival by Minnesota native Eric William Barnum entitled ‘look up...'. Jack Bowman, dean of the School of Fine Arts said, “This is an incredible opportunity for our students to display their talents and also to work with and learn from an accomplished choral director like Craig Jessop. It’s sure to result in a magical evening.”

Craig Jessop
Craig Jessop will conduct the choirs in a new work commissioned for the festival

To purchase tickets, visit the Benson Great Hall Box Office at: or phone: 651-638-6333 or 866-424-4849. All seats are reserved, and tickets are priced at $25 each. Concert patrons who wish to purchase a special $75 ticket will also receive a complimentary CD recording of the entire festival concert. The additional $50 fee will be donated to the F. Melius Christiansen (FMC) Endowment Fund (created by the American Choral Directors Association and named for the founder of the St. Olaf Choir) which annually awards scholarships totaling over $10,000 to Minnesota choral directors and students for participating in numerous professional development opportunities. Wold pointed out that UMD students have received scholarships through the FMC Endowment Fund to attend conferences.

Sing a New Song
The UMD University Singers, which were founded in 1972 by Vernon H. Opheim, is comprised of about 60 individuals. Membership is open to students from all colleges and majors across the UMD campus, united by a love of singing and a deep appreciation of choral music. “It is a mixed art form, combining music and poetry. We have a duty to deliver the poetry as well as the music,” Wold said.

While the University Singers perform regularly at Weber Music Hall on the UMD campus and throughout the state, they have also toured internationally. Previous tours have included Turkey; Kenya and Tanzania; Costa Rica; and Bavaria and Austria. In January 2010, the ensemble will perform in Berlin, Dresden, and Leipzig. The University Singers were selected through a blind audition process to participate in the Minnesota Collegiate Choral Festival.

Wold recently received a PDF of the commissioned finale piece, “look up…” that will premier at the festival. The score included notes from the composer, Eric William Barnum, so that Wold and the choir can gain insight into Barnum’s thought processes. “It’s exciting to work together and prepare a new work,” Wold said. The five collegiate choirs will not have a chance to rehearse the piece en masse until the morning of the performance. It will also be the first opportunity that the choirs have to work with guest director, Craig Jessop. That day, members from the various choirs are encouraged to sit in on the rehearsal of the other choirs. “It’s a wonderful chance for the choirs to come together and learn from a renowned director and from one another,” Wold said.

For more information about the Minnesota Collegiate Choral Festival, visit

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann,

UMD home page editor, Cheryl Reitan,
NEW RELEASES, UMD media contact, Susan Latto,, 218-726-8830

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