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Oct. 13, 2011
By Brittany Keithley, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University's Tower Choir will perform at the national conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization Nov. 3-5 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo.
This is the first time in Northwest's history an ensemble of any kind has been selected to perform at a national convention.
"This is a significant achievement that will provide a new kind of visibility for Northwest and our music department that is similar to the national championships played by our football team," said Dr. Stephen Town, professor of music and conductor of Tower Choir. "During the last several years I have watched the ensemble reach ever higher standards of musical perfection, and I knew it was simply a matter of time before the ensemble in some form was invited to perform at a national convention."
In preparation for its convention performance, Tower Choir will perform a preview concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30, at Conception Abbey. The concert is free and open to the public. It will feature the entire Northwest Tower Choir performing its programs for the NCCO conference as well as the Nebraska Music Educators Association state convention where the choir will perform Nov. 17-19 in Lincoln, Neb.
The NCCO conference feature the finest choral ensembles from colleges and universities in the United States. Choirs present concerts up to 25 minutes in various categories including historical, thematic, extended works, free programs and chamber choirs. An application to perform must include recordings from the last two school years and proposed programs the choir plans to perform.
Since the work of preceding choirs warrants this national recognition, Town credits his former Tower Choir students' dedication and hard work for the NCCO invitation and looks forward to what the 2011-2012 choir will accomplish.
"I want to express my deepest gratitude to the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 Tower Choir members and even those of earlier years for making this event possible," Town said. "It will be up to the members of the 2011-2012 Tower Choir to live up to the challenge and to go beyond it."
Dan Rasmussen, a senior from Jefferson, Iowa, who is majoring in broadcasting and vocal music education, is in his fourth year singing tenor with Tower Choir. With every performance, Rasmussen said the choir members strengthen their bonds and discover unique relationships with the music they are performing.
"Dr. Town always talks about moments made eternal, and how sometimes whenever you first start music you think there is no way this is going to be meaningful, but every trimester you find so much meaning in all the music, and you get this feeling when you sing something about passion or love with 40 of your peers," Rasmussen said. "This tour will be no exception to that, and I'm sure the impact to be performing will be phenomenal."
This year's NCCO conference will feature performances by Arizona State University, Asuza Pacific University, Capital University, College of Charleston, Iowa State University, Riverside City College, University of British Columbia University, University of Louisville, University of Northern Colorado, University of Southern California and Western Michigan University. The Colorado State University Chamber Choir will close the conference with an all-Bach program conducted by Helmuth Rilling.
"Naturally, the competition is great, because the universities singing at the NCCO conferences are the ones with the very best choral programs, and there is a certain element of luck involved in programming," Town said.
Though only 20 students will perform at the national conference, the entire choir will travel to Colorado where they will perform some of the NCCO and NMEA programs as well as solos by the students at a concert Thursday, Nov. 3, in North Platte, Neb. The choir will also sing Sunday, Nov. 6, during a worship service at the Fort Collins First United Methodist Church.
"It is such a long way to go to sing only one concert, so I arranged the two framing presentations around the NCCO concert," Town said. "Three presentations will give the entire group the opportunity to sing, but will not overwhelm us."
Tower Choir previously performed at the 2010 State Convention of the Missouri Music Educators Association and during a 2011 Spring Break Tour through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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