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CSB/SJU Choral Arts Ensemble to Give Concert before Asia Tour

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April 5, 2005

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University Choral Arts Ensemble will present a concert at 8 p.m. Friday, April 15, in the Great Hall on the SJU campus, Collegeville, Minn.  The concert will feature both sacred and secular music from the United States, Europe, South America and Asia, including selections by Brahms, Casals and Bernstein, as well as spirituals and folksongs from the United States, Japan, China and Korea. The concert is free and open to the public.

The choir is under the direction of Axel Theimer, who is in his 36th year on the music faculty at CSB/SJU.

Sixty-one CSB/SJU singers will present this “Bon Voyage” concert before leaving on May 9 for a 23-day concert tour to Asia. Every four years members of the CSB/SJU Chamber Choir, CSB Campus Singers and SJU Men’s Chorus form a special choir, named Choral Arts Ensemble, in preparation of an International Tour. In the past all these tours, beginning in 1959 with trips by the SJU Men’s Chorus, have been to Europe. This year, for the first time, the choir will travel to Asia, giving concerts in Tokyo, Okinawa, Seoul, Beijing and Hong Kong.

One of the major goals, in addition to visiting countries most of the members of the choir have not visited before and to experience the culture and meet the people, is to combine singers from the CSB/SJU ensemble with singers from the host cities in all scheduled performances.

In Tokyo the ensemble will be part of a high school choral festival at Seisen and St. Mary’s High Schools and also share the stage with the choir from Bunkyo University.

The choir from Shogaku High School will host and join our singers in Okinawa.

In Seoul, the performance will allow the ensemble to meet with students at Kyongwun University.

A major concert in Beijing at Normal Capital University includes the Chamber Choral Ensemble from that university’s Music School. The CSB/SJU Choral Arts Ensemble also received an invitation from the China Performing Arts Agency to be part of the Beijing Festival, an ongoing series of concerts officially sponsored by the Chinese Government.

The final highlight will be a performance at the Cultural Center of Hong Kong, where the ensemble will be joined by two very accomplished and acclaimed ensembles - the Youth Choir from the Cultural Center and the Youth String Orchestra, in the performance of the “Mass in G major” by Franz Schubert.

The 61 singers have been meeting weekly for three-hour rehearsals since the beginning of the 2004-05 academic year.