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Zegree-coached Nick Lachey choir wins "Clash"

Dec. 21, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University's internationally renowned vocal jazz professor Dr. Stephen Zegree was the "secret weapon" for the Cincinnati-based Nick Lachey choir's victory in the four-night, nationally televised "Clash of the Choirs," according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Music superstar Lachey tapped Zegree to rehearse his hometown choir for performances in "Clash of the Choirs Holiday Challenge," which aired live on NBC from New York City Dec. 17-20. The show featured music genres ranging from current pop hits to holiday classics. Viewers voted to eliminate one of the five choirs in the competition each of the four nights. Lachey's choir prevailed, bringing home $250,000 from General Electric for Cincinnati-area charities.

Zegree rehearsed the choir for more than a week in Cincinnati, traveled to New York for three more days of rehearsals prior to the live broadcasts and remained in New York to work with Lachey and the singers throughout the competition.

"Zegree is the Sondheim of choral jazz," said Kathy Springfield, Xavier University threatre arts director, in the Enquirer article. The choir rehearsed at Xavier while in Cincinnati.

"Steve is amazing. He is by far the best coach and director I've ever had," said Nick Wall, a member of the choir and a former soloist for the Ohio All-State Choir in high school.

Lachey's choir competed against hometown choirs put together by other music superstars, including Patti Labelle, Philadelphia; Kelly Rowland, Houston; Blake Shelton, Oklahoma City; and Michael Bolton, New Haven, Conn. GE will donate $50,000 to charities in each of the other communities represented.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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