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Gold Company concert is 30th anniversary bash

Feb. 5, 2008

KALAMAZOO--The concert date has been set for months, but a Saturday, Feb. 9, anniversary show by Western Michigan University's acclaimed vocal jazz group Gold Company is a gala that is growing in scope almost daily.

"The Best of Gold Company: The 30th Anniversary Show" is set for 2 and 8 p.m. in WMU's Miller Auditorium. The event will feature the songs that have made the group famous as well as the voices of nearly 100 Gold Company alumni who are traveling from around the globe to be part of the celebration.

A recent addition to the lineup is a Cincinnati-based choir that won NBC's December 2007 "Clash of the Choirs Holiday Challenge," a four-night, nationally televised competition. The choir--led by music superstar Nick Lachey--was coached by Gold Company Director Dr. Stephen Zegree, who Lachey identified in press reports as his "secret weapon." The Cincinnati choir beat celebrity-led choirs from four other cities to win $250,000 for Cincinnati-area charities.

"As many of the choir as can make it will be traveling from Cincinnati to sing with us Saturday," Zegree says. Lachey will not be able to appear in person due to prior commitments.

Zegree, who is WMU's Bobby McFerrin Professor of Jazz, says Saturday's show will feature the best of Broadway, the movies and pop standards that have been a hallmark of Gold Company and its sister ensemble GCII, which is also performing Saturday.

Another show highlight, he notes, will be the closing number in which all of the returning Gold Company and GCII alumni will be on stage for the world premier of a song written for the occasion.

"We have alumni returning from as far away as Australia to participate," Zegree says.

WMU's Gold Company is widely recognized as one of the most successful and prestigious collegiate vocal jazz ensembles in the world.

Gold Company combines the fundamental musical elements from the traditional choral style with stylistic characteristics from the jazz vernacular with an emphasis on improvisation and swing.

Appearing throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and South Africa, the group has performed at the World Symposium on Choral Music as well as at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and the 1st Annual Ella Fitzgerald Vocal Jazz Festival.

Tickets are still available for both shows and range from $12 to $20 each. For ticket information, call the Miller Auditorium ticket office at (269) 387-2300 or go to millerauditorium.com.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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