"Finding Your Voice" Festival New to Catawba
January 10, 2011
During Catawba College's first annual Finding Your Voice Festival and Vocal Scholarship Competition, Jan. 16 and 17, high school students will be celebrating new concepts of "vocal freedom." These students will travel from all over the region, state, and from other states to study and perform on campus.
The high school students will participate in a Festival Chorus with all of the participants, and they will each sing a juried audition for members of the vocal faculty at Catawba. They will receive written comments and aural feedback about their singing from the faculty members. The voice faculty will choose a set of semi-finalists from those auditions who will compete for vocal scholarships to attend Catawba College.
There will be two opportunities for people in the Greater Salisbury-Rowan region to hear the music being performed. There is an opening concert on Sunday night, January 16, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel. The Catawba Chamber Singers, Men's Chorus and Women's Chorus will sing at this concert, as will members of Catawba's highly acclaimed vocal faculty.
On Monday evening, January 17, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in Keppel Auditorium the Catawba Singers (the college's premier touring choir) will open a Festival Gala Concert that will include the Vocal Scholarship Winners singing their solo selections and a performance by the massed Festival Chorus. Joining Professor Oakley on the podium for this concert will be Dennis Jewett, instructor of voice and choral music at Catawba, and two guest conductors. Dr. Peter Eklund, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and Dr. Mack Wilberg, the current conductor of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and one of the most celebrated choral composers and arrangers in the United States. The teachers of the high school students who come to this festival will study with Drs. Eklund and Wilberg, as well as with Professors Oakley and Jewett.
These high school students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and interests," says Professor Paul E. Oakley, Catawba's Artist-in-Residence in Music and Associate Professor of Music, "but their eyes all light up the same when you ask them what they want to do with their lives. They all share one answer...they want to sing!"
Catawba College's Department of Music has a unique niche among American colleges and universities in that it embraces the widest range of musical styles with a deep commitment to excellence in teaching and performance in all styles of music. Some of the students coming to this festival want to sing opera, some want to be music teachers, some want to star on Broadway, some want to be ministers of music or musical missionaries and others dream of singing their own original popular music in clubs or arenas to worldwide audiences. All of these desires are encouraged and enabled in the Catawba music curriculum and within the school's larger liberal arts curriculum.
Kristopher Watson, a graduating senior from Catawba College says, "Where else can you find a Music Department where the faculty embraces Handel's Messiah and The Beatles' Abbey Road with the same care, and considers them both to be classics?" Watson, from New Jersey, has been deeply involved in making music at Catawba better through his skills as a singer, a scholar, and a gifted student administrator.
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