Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 28, 2009

Whitworth Choir to Present May 10 "Bon Voyage" Concert at St. Augustine's Church

This May, choir also will embark on first tour to South America

The 51-voice Whitworth Choir will present its spring concert, "Bon Voyage," on Sunday, May 10, at 3 p.m. at St. Augustine Church, located at 428 W. 19th St., in Spokane. Suggested donation: $7 adults; $5 students and seniors. For more information, please call (509) 777-3280.
 
The choir's Spokane concert will serve as the kickoff performance for its first overseas tour in more than 40 years. On Monday, May 18, the choir will embark on a two-week tour of Uruguay and Argentina, which will include a concert in Montevideo hosted in part by the U.S. Embassy in Uruguay, and a joint concert with students from the internationally recognized music school Instituto Domingo Zipoli, in Cordoba, Argentina. The tour also will include shared performances with school, university, and adult choirs in Arias, San Isidro, and the University of Moron, in Buenos Aires.

During the tour, the choir will participate in a workshop conducted by famed Argentine conductor and composer Oscar Escalada. Other activities in Argentina will include a visit to Estancia La Alameda for horseback-riding demonstrations and traditional Argentine folk music and dancing, as well as a small group dinner in an Argentine home.

In the future, the choral program at Whitworth plans to send students on an overseas tour every four years.

"We chose South America for this first tour because Argentina has a rich choral tradition, and it's also a destination our students might not choose to visit on their own," says Marc A. Hafso, professor of music and director of choral activities. "We want to connect our students to musical communities and cultural experiences in other parts of the world."

The music the choir will perform during its concert in Spokane will also be featured during the tour in South America. The program includes classic choral works such as Mendelssohn's Richte Mich, Gott (Psalm 43), in recognition of the 200th anniversary of his birth, as well as works from northern countries, including Nocturnes, by Swedish composer Hildor Lundvik, Due North, by Canadian Stephen Chatman, and American folk song arrangements. The concert also will feature Oscar Escalada's setting of Astor Piazzolla's classic tango, Libertango, and sacred works, including Marc and Judy Hafso's Standing On Holy Ground.

"We wanted to create a diverse program that represents music from our cultural background and experience and also shows our appreciation for South American music," Hafso says.

The Whitworth Choir is regarded as one of the premier university choirs in the Pacific Northwest and continues to build upon a 75-year heritage of fine choral singing at Whitworth. The choir pursues an active schedule that includes the popular Christmas Festival Concerts in Spokane and the Seattle area, regular tours, performances of major works with orchestra, and recording projects. Last February, the choir performed by invitation at the 2009 Music Educators National Conference Northwest Division Convention, in Spokane.

This spring, Hafso received news that his Missa Pacem (Mass of Peace), a 23-minute work scored for mixed chorus, solo, piano and percussion, will be featured in Indianapolis-based Colla Voce Music Inc.'s summer 2009 publication. Two of the five Mass movements (Gloria and Sanctus) were published separately in 2007, the same year that the Whitworth Choir gave the U.S. premier of Missa Pacem. Hafso also serves as president-elect of the Washington State Chapter of the American Choral Directors Association and program chair of the WA-ACDA Summer Institute, which will be held at the University of Puget Sound in July.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,600 students, offers 53 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Marc A. Hafso, professor of music and director of choral activities, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4589 or mhafso@whitworth.edu.

Joan Lack or Loree Swegle, music department program assistants, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3280 or jlack@whitworth.edu or lswegle@whitworth.edu.

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.

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