Last updated: April 24. 2014 3:10PM - 101 Views
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Director, Dr. Greg Ramsdell
Director, Dr. Greg Ramsdell
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TIFFIN – With its theme “British Invasion,” the Heidelberg University Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers will perform their annual home concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 27, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Tiffin.

Under the direction of Dr. Greg Ramsdell, director of choral activities and assistant professor of choral music education, the 47-member vocal ensemble will perform a program that includes repertoire reflecting on America’s fascination with many aspects of British culture.

“The theme is a deliberate reference to that time in the mid-’60s when America seemed to be completely enthralled with all things British,” Ramsdell said. “It seems that we are once again in the midst of just such a cultural fascination.”

“In our own unique way, we too will be paying homage in our concert program because all of our music has some sort of connection to our friends across the pond. In most cases, the relationship is direct: many of the pieces were written by British composers; others are settings of British poetry. Conversely, some of the associations are more tenuous,” he added.

Rabindranath Tagore, whose poem “Patience” is set in Trotta’s “I Will Keep Still,” was educated at Oxford University. American-born composer Eric Whitacre currently makes his home in London. “Whether or not the relationship of each piece to the concert theme is readily apparent, we believe that there will be no question that each selection on the program has been expertly wedded to inspiring texts of universal appeal,” Ramsdell said.

Highlighting the choir’s program will be an arrangement of the Beatles’ “In My Life.” The choir also will perform Lloyd Pfautsch’s setting of Andrew Marvell’s “Musicks Empire,” which describes the role of music from infancy to maturity, and Dale Grontenhuis’ rollicking arrangement of “O No, John,” which explores the theme of how success in courting often begins simply by learning to ask the right question.

Several selections feature solos or accompaniment by students from the choir. Featured soloists include Collin Stump and Kristina Kamm, while organ accompaniment will be provided by sophomore Stephen Smith and senior Melissa Flowers.

Since its inception in 1938, the Concert Choir has achieved the distinction of being one of the premier collegiate choral ensembles in the Midwest. Open to all Heidelberg students, regardless of major, the Concert Choir rehearses three times each week and performs more than 15 concerts each year, including a domestic tour and a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” as part of Heidelberg’s Christmas concert at Tiffin’s Ritz Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Ramsdell is in his third year as the Concert Choir’s director. In addition to his conducting responsibilities, he teaches undergraduate courses in conducting and secondary choral methods. He also teaches graduate courses in curriculum development, research in music education and music theory.

Ramsdell received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in music education from Bowling Green State University. In 2006, he earned his doctorate in choral conducting performance from the University of Kansas. Prior to joining the Heidelberg faculty, Ramsdell taught junior high general music and oversaw a large junior high and high school choral music program in Greenville, Pa. He also taught at Westminster College in Pennsylvania and at the University of Central Arkansas.

The concert is free and open to the public. A freewill offering will be taken in order to offset the choir’s travel expenses, including its upcoming tour to eastern Ohio and the East Coast in May.

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