U of M choir group will hold concert with A.L. students

Published 5:12 pm Saturday, November 2, 2013

Albert Lea High School choir students will get a special opportunity to work with esteemed singers from the University of Minnesota, and Albert Leans can enjoy a free concert after the workshop.

On Thursday, the University Singers, the flagship choral ensemble of the University of Minnesota, will visit ALHS to work with students. Choir Director Diane Heaney said the visit will be a great opportunity for the students.

“I think it’s going to be great for my students to sing alongside college singers,” Heaney said. “These are really fine singers.”

Email newsletter signup

During the afternoon on Thursday students will split up into two groups, men and women separately, to work with the visiting singers. The students then will join together to prepare a group song as well.

ALHS students who will perform solos at Thursday’s concert are Zane Aumich, Anna Englin, Tanner Shaft, Bailey Ford and Daniel Gould. Heaney said the concert will be entertaining for anyone.

“This is their top choir,” Heaney said. “Both of their conductors are just excellent, excellent people.”

The concert is free and open to the public at 7 p.m. at Albert Lea’s First Lutheran Church. Heaney said that though there is no admission, they plan to pass a hat for donations to split between the choir program and the Orrie Jirele Scholarship Fund.

The stop in Albert Lea is part of a regional tour. After the workshop and concert in Albert Lea on Thursday, the choir will head to Austin and Owatonna during the school day on Friday. Later Friday evening, the University Singers will go to Red Wing for a solo concert at 7 p.m. at Red Wing’s Sheldon Theatre.

The University Singers repertoire centers around water and its importance in nurturing individuals, sustaining the earth and building community. Notable selections include “Clouburst” by Eric Whitacre, two settings of Psalm 42, one by Felix Mendelssohn, Wie der Hirsch schreit nach frischem Wasser, and the well known Sicut Cervus of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Paul Simon’s popular “Bridge over Troubled Water,” and a setting of “The Water is Wide” by U of M alumnus, Stephen Paulus.

The University Singers is an ensemble of 56 who are led by Kathy Saltzman Romey, director of choral activities, and Matthew Mehaffey, associate director of choral activities. Members of the voice faculty include John De Haan, Jean del Santo, Adriana Zabala, Wendy Zaro-Mullins, and Philip Zawisza, who will travel and perform with the choir.

“This choral tour is an amazing opportunity for School of Music students and faculty to share our knowledge and love of singing through clinics and voice instruction with talented high school choirs throughout greater Minnesota,” Mehaffey said in a press release. “We look forward to bringing communities together through song.”


If you go

What: Choir concert featuring Albert Lea High School students and the University Singers of the University of Minnesota

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: First Lutheran Church, Albert Lea

How much: Free