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The Tower Choir, pictured above during a spring 2019 performance, will appear at the annual Missouri Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop and Conference in January. (Submitted photo)

The Tower Choir, pictured above during a spring 2019 performance, will appear at the annual Missouri Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop and Conference in January. (Submitted photo)

Oct. 9, 2019

Tower Choir selected to perform at state music educators conference


The Northwest Missouri State University Tower Choir has again received an invitation to perform at the annual Missouri Music Educators Association (MMEA) In-Service Workshop and Conference.

The invitation marks the fourth for the choir under the direction of Professor of Music Dr. Stephen Town. The Tower Choir previously performed at the conference in 2003, 2010 and 2015. This year’s conference is set for Jan. 22-25, 2020, at the Tan-Tar-A Conference Center in Osage Beach, Missouri.

“One can compare a conference performance to a state or national championship game,” Town said. “Athletes test their skills at such prominent events after developing them in practices. In a like manner, musicians test their skills through a conference appearance after developing them in rehearsals. Practices and rehearsals are not sufficient; championship games and conference appearances are required to compete at higher levels.” 

A performance at MMEA represents the highest statewide honor to which a school music ensemble can aspire. About 180 ensembles from throughout the state applied to perform at MMEA, and the conference hosts 3,600 registrants with total foot traffic of 10,000 attendees during the four-day event.

“Invited concerts at professional conferences recognize the acquired skill level of the participants and the instruction that the participants received to be selected for the specific venues,” Town said. “The fact that the Tower Choir has been selected is evidence that the choral ensemble program at Northwest has met and maintained continued excellence.”

Among other recent honors for the Tower Choir, the ensemble presented invited concerts for the Nebraska Music Educators Association conference in 2011, 2014 and 2017. In 2011, the Tower Choir presented an invited concert for the National Conference of the National Collegiate Choral Organization in Fort Collins, Colo.

“An invitation to perform at MMEA is the pinnacle for any performing ensemble,” Tower Choir member Mitchell Martinez, a senior vocal music education major from Orrick, Missouri, said. “The performing hall is filled with learned musicians, music educators and music students – all of whom understand and appreciate the efforts involved with an invitation to perform and the preparation of the program. With this sort of audience, we know that what we have prepared will be received wonderfully.” 

The invitation, members of the choir say, is a result of the commitment to their craft and developing skills that will lead to success in their careers. In addition to three scheduled rehearsals each week, students organize sectional rehearsals. They learn to hold each other accountable. They build confidence as well as listening and time management skills.

“Being in Tower Choir has taught me a lot about leadership and taking ownership of my mistakes,” Jaymie Argotsinger, a senior vocal music education major from Omaha, Nebraska, said. “The only way the choir improves as a whole is if each individual person does what it takes to know their notes, memorize the pieces, and sing with emotion and conviction. Because of Tower Choir, I have learned to be a better individual musician as well as a better group member.”

Formed decades ago by Ralph E. Hartzell, the Tower Choir is an award-winning choral ensemble. Since the 1999-2000 academic year, under the direction of Town, the ensemble has performed more than 130 concerts for high schools, colleges, universities, churches, institutions and organizations in the states of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas as well as Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Washington, D.C. The ensemble has given 14 peer-reviewed or invited concerts for learned societies, regional and state conventions, meetings, and symposia.


Media contact:

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