WMU News

Choral students and alumni fill Miller stage

Oct. 13, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Nearly 200 choral alumni of the Western Michigan University School of Music will converge on the WMU campus for a weekend of activities Oct. 25-26 as part of the University's Centennial Celebration.

The highlight of the weekend is a free concert Sunday, Oct. 26, beginning at 4 p.m. in Miller Auditorium. Performances will feature the choral alumni and eight University choral ensembles: the University Chorale, Women's Chorus, Collegiate Singers, Concert Choir, SLAB (an all-male a capella group), Collegium Singers, Gold Company and GC II. In all, more than 350 singers will fill the stage at Miller Auditorium.

Former choir directors Thomas Hardie, Mel Ivey, and Craig Arnold also will return to campus to lead the alumni choir in selections of their choosing. Thomas Hardie will conduct Antonio Lotti's "Crucifixus," Mel Ivey has selected "How Lovely is Thy Dwelling Place" from Brahms' German Requiem, and Craig Arnold has programmed Rene Clausen's "Tonight, Eternity Alone."

To close the concert, Dr. Joe Miller, the current director of choral studies, will conduct the alumni choir in performances of Jack Halloran's arrangement of the gospel song "Witness" and an arrangement of WMU's Alma Mater penned by former graduate assistant Jeremy Landig. Each of the university ensembles will also perform its own set of pieces.

Thomas Hardie served on the WMU faculty from 1957 to 1986, and was director of choirs from 1960 to 1972. In retirement, he lives in Chicago where he continues to be active as a private teacher of voice.

Mel Ivey was WMU's coordinator of choral activities from 1973 to 1989, during which time he conducted the University Chorale and Grand Chorus, taught voice and choral conducting, and served as coordinator of graduate studies. He is now retired and spends his time fulfilling a lifelong dream of owning and operating a small cattle ranch in the Texas hill country.

Craig Arnold joined the WMU faculty in 1991 as director of choral activities. During his seven-year affiliation, he conducted the University Chorale and Grand Chorus and taught graduate and undergraduate conducting courses. He is now executive and artistic director of Manhattan Concert Productions in New York City.

Miller and his graduate assistants have been working diligently for nearly two years to organize the reunion in celebration of WMU's centennial. Alumni from almost every U.S. state will return to campus for the festivities. The weekend's events will include several rehearsals, a conductor's forum, a dinner for alumni and guests, and the culminating concert on Sunday afternoon.

Media contact: Kevin West, 269 387-4678, kevin.west@wmich.edu

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