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ASU Concert Choir and Community
Chorus make music in Italy
April 13, 2010
The ASU Concert Choir and Community Chorus made their
Italian debut in Florence, Italy, March 21, after six months of rehearsals,
an on-campus performance in Fowler Center, time logged in three airport
terminals, and a five-hour bus ride.
Dr. Dale Miller, choir director and professor of music at ASU, directed
the 50-voice choir in performances in Florence, Siena, Rome and the
Vatican. Choir members raised the money themselves to fund the trip. The
choir consisted of 32 students and 18 community singers.
“We would start each performance with music written specifically for
churches and cathedrals that were in use in the 1500s,” said Miller.
“These would include ‘O Bone Jesu’ and selections from the ‘Missa Brevis’
by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1535-1594). Then we would
transition to spirituals and contemporary music written by Norman Luboff,
Moses Hogan, Rene Clausen and Randy Stonehill. The final selection of
each performance was ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ by Peter C.
The Florence performance was on Sunday, March 21, at Santa Maria de
Ricci, a church built in 1508. The performance was part of the American
Celebration of Music in Italy.
The choir left Jonesboro March 18th and arrived in Rome the
next day. A chartered bus took them to Florence, where they settled into
a hotel and began sightseeing tours with local tour guides. The tours
included the Duomo--a cathedral that took 170 years to build—plus the
Academia (Academy of Fine Arts), where they saw Michelangelo’s David
and other sculptures by the great masters. Other tours included the
Uffizi Gallery, one of the most famous museums in the world for
paintings and sculptures.
“In addition to the singing experience, it was a wonderful opportunity
study the Renaissance period close up,” said Miller. “The students got
to see a collection of Primitive and Renaissance paintings from
universally acclaimed masters of all time.”
The choir traveled to Siena the following day and sang at the Siena
Duomo, a highly ornate cathedral built in the 13th century. The visit to
Siena also included walking tours of the city, including the Piazza del
Campo, and the town hall. Following the tours, choir members loaded the
bus and traveled to Rome.
In Rome, the students were treated to guided tours
of religious Rome, featuring the Vatican, the home of the Pope, and the
center of Roman Catholicism, as well as the Vatican Museum, St. Peter’s
Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel, featuring Michelangelo’s ceiling
fresco and “The Last Judgment.” They also viewed the Pantheon--built
more than 1800 years ago and symbol of the Roman Empire—the Spanish
Steps, the Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. Additional tours were
of Imperial Rome, including the entrance to the Roman Forum and the
Performances in Rome were at the Basilica Santa Maria sopra Minerva, a
church which was founded in 1280 and is the only Gothic church in Rome,
and in a mass at St. Peters Basilica.
“This was a cultural experience as much as a musical one,” said Miller.
“It was an opportunity for our students to sing in some of the biggest
Christian churches in the world in settings and church buildings in
which many of the musical selections would have been performed during
the sixteenth century. For many of us it was an once-in-a-lifetime
The choir returned to Jonesboro on March 26.
For additional information, please contact Dr. Dale Miller
at (870) 972-2094.
--release and photographs by Markham Howe,
executive director, Office of Public Relations, ASU
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