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Northwest Missouri State University


News Release

The Northwest Tower Choir, pictured above, will perform Dec. 4 at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey.

The Northwest Tower Choir, pictured above, will perform Dec. 4 at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey. (Northwest Missouri State University photo)

Nov. 21, 2016

Tower Choir to perform Dec. 4 at Conception Abbey basilica

Northwest Missouri State University’s Tower Choir will present a concert next month at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Conception Abbey to celebrate the 125th anniversary of its dedication and the memory of the late Father Timothy Schoen, O.S.B.

The concert, which is free and open to the public, is at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.

Completed in 1891, the basilica is considered one of the wonders of the four-state region and beyond. In 1999, the monastery completed a $9 million restoration of the structure and its historic Beuron murals.

The Tower Choir visits the basilica on a regular basis, making its last stop there in spring 2015 as part of its extended spring break tour. Dr. Stephen Town, a professor of music at Northwest, conducts the 43-person vocal ensemble with the accompaniment of Dr. Jiwon Choi.

“There are no other venues in our area like the Basilica and the Convent (at the nearby Clyde Monastery), both of which possess superb acoustics,” Town said. “The Basilica is a capacious space with a long reverberation time – the music returns in wave after wave with thrilling affect – while the Convent is an intimate environment where the music seems to surround the listener and singer closely. Singers love to sing in both places because the acoustics are ingratiating to the voice. An initiated tone blossoms and grows without effort and, thus, the result is an enhanced sound and magical moments.”

He added, “Always audiences are enchanted by performances at the basilica, by the intersection of beautiful music, time and eternity in the architectural splendor of the structure.”

The concert also will honor the late Father Timothy, who died unexpectedly in March. A devoted musician, he served for decades as one of Conception Abbey’s principal organists and taught classes in voice, piano and organ in its seminary college.

The program will include “In Your Light” by Daniel Elder, a setting of a poem by Rumi; “Batter My Heart, Three-Personed God” by Richard Nance, a setting of the Holy Sonnet by John Donne; “Data Mihi Est Omnis Potestas” by James MacMillan, a motet using the words of Matthew 28: 18-19; and “Lauda per la Nativita del Signore (Laud to the Nativity)” by Ottorino Respighi.

Formed decades ago by Ralph E. Hartzell, the Tower Choir is an audition-based choir with a rich and varied history of outstanding choral performance and musical perfection marked by invitational appearances at a number of high respected conventions, including six appearances at the Missouri Music Educators Association state conventions since 1973, as well as venues throughout the region and nation. Since Town became the Tower Choir’s fourth director in 1999, the ensemble has presented 15 peer-reviewed or invited concerts for learned societies as well as regional and national conventions, meetings and symposia as well as for colleges, churches, high schools and organizations throughout the United States.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468