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C of I Chamber Singers to perform at Carnegie Hall

The College of Idaho Chamber Singers, led by Professor Brent Wells, are performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City this spring as part of the prestigious Distinguished Concerts International New York series. The student group is spending six days in New York, highlighted by a March 24 concert featuring the music of Grammy Award-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for C of I students to perform in one of America’s most famed concert halls came when Wells, a professor of music and director of choral activities at the C of I, received a personal invitation to bring the Chamber Singers to Carnegie Hall.

“DCINY contacted me last summer and mentioned that they had seen our Eric Whitacre ‘Seal Lullaby’ performance on YouTube,” Wells said. “They were impressed by the quality of the choir and the singing and asked if we would like to come and sing with Whitacre in Carnegie Hall.”

DCINY specializes in bringing high caliber choral and instrumental concerts to renowned venues. A key attribute of this organization is blending acclaimed composers/conductors with America’s best choral groups to deliver an outstanding musical experience. Choirs are invited based on a selective audition process and those chosen are asked to learn the repertoire of the featured composer/conductor.

DCINY’s honorable mention for the 2013 season is Grammy winner Whitacre, whose modern repertoire presented both a challenge and a joy for Wells and the Chamber Singers. The group has been working on a collection of Whitacre pieces since early October and has dedicated extra rehearsal time to ensure that the music is flawlessly memorized.

“Whitacre’s music tends to be very difficult, and this concert showcases a significant amount of his most demanding music,” Wells said. “The choir has gone above and beyond the normal expectations to make sure that we are prepared for this experience.”

The C of I trip to New York kicks off March 22 with an intensive two-day rehearsal led by Whitacre, which will be followed by a single performance on Sunday, March 24, in Carnegie Hall. The Chamber Singers and other distinguished high school and college choirs will perform Whitacre’s most celebrated compositions including “Lux Aurumque,” “Sleep,” “Alleluia” and “Cloudburst.” The students are spending the remainder of their time in New York experiencing the city’s rich musical and cultural offerings.  

“The Chamber Singers at The College of Idaho received this invitation because of the quality and high level of musicianship demonstrated by the singers,” said Dr. Jonathan Griffith, principal conductor and artistic director for DCINY. “These wonderful musicians not only represent a high quality of music and education, but they also become ambassadors for the entire community.”

The C of I Chamber Singers will perform songs from their Whitacre set during their Spring Concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 12 in Jewett Auditorium. For more information about C of I student choirs, please visit www.collegeofidaho.edu/choral-activities. Or, if you are interested in donating to the Chamber Singers’ tour in New York, please contact Dr. Wells at (208) 459-5607 or bwells@collegeofidaho.edu.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.