The University of South Dakota Chamber Singers and alumni from around the nation will present a 2 p.m. concert on Sunday, Oct. 6, at Aalfs Auditorium in Slagle Hall on the USD campus.
This performance will culminate a Dakota Days celebration that will see current and former members of the USD Chamber Singers rehearse with conductor David Holdhusen, Ph.D. In addition to the combined selections, the 2013-2014 Chamber Singers will make their first formal appearance of the year at this concert, which is free and open to the public.
The idea for the Reunion Choir began last spring as a joint venture between the Music Department and the Alumni Association. According to Holdhusen, this is an opportunity to build toward the future by recognizing the past.
“I wanted to bring together singers from different eras and different conductors to showcase the good things happening in the vocal/choral area for the alumni, as well as let the current students interact with those who built the foundation of the Chamber Singers program.”
The program features several selections performed by the current ensemble, including traditional choral music, folk songs and spirituals. Included in the Reunion Choir’s selections are two pieces near and dear to the ensemble alumni: Peter Williams’ “Agnus Dei,” a staple of the Chamber Singers’ repertoire during Larry Torkelson’s tenure as conductor, and “O Day Full of Grace,” by F. Melius Christiansen, a signature closing selection for the choir under Holdhusen.
“When choosing music for this performance, it was important to me to select repertoire that has meaning for singers beyond musical elements,” Holdhusen explained. “With the Williams and Christiansen pieces, you have music that connects the singers emotionally beyond their time at the university. These are songs the alumni will return to sing and immediately be transported back to their time as a member of the USD Chamber Singers. This is the ultimate goal of this entire experience.”
Chamber Singers’ alumni who would like to participate in this event can register at the Alumni Association Web site, www.usdalumni.com. The festivities begin with a 10 a.m. rehearsal on Oct. 6 at Aalfs Auditorium followed by lunch at the National Music Museum. The concluding concert begins at 2 p.m.
The Chamber Singers, the premiere vocal ensemble at USD with 32 members, features graduate and undergraduate students selected through auditions from the entire university student body. Its repertoire, which is primarily a cappella, includes music from the Renaissance to the present in a wide variety of styles.
They have performed for state and regional conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference and have appeared on the public radio program “Going Beyond Words.” The ensemble has, on several occasions, been selected as a finalist for the American Prize in Choral Performance (College and University Division).