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Randolph College’s Chorale Receives Special Invitation to Perform at Holocaust Musuem

LYNCHBURG – Randolph College’s Chorale will make a special appearance at the National Holocaust Museum during its Spring Break performance tour.

The group will travel to Richmond, Washington, D.C. and Maryland over the break, performing at churches, high schools and other venues. The highlight of the trip however, is the group’s March 13 appearance at the U.S. Holocaust Museum, where the students will perform in the Hall of Remembrance after experiencing a tour of the museum. One of the selections the group will perform is “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” composed by Joel Hardyk for treble chorus and oboe. “Butterfly” is an especially emotion-charged work, using poetry of children from the concentration camp at Terezin. Professional oboist Bill Parrish will travel and perform with the Randolph group.

“Just the fact that we have the opportunity to do these selections in a setting like the Holocaust Museum is amazing,” said Randall Speer, assistant professor of music and director of Chorale. “The choir has really stepped up to the plate because they know what kind of opportunity this is. They have taken these pieces to heart. I believe the students will have an even deeper perspective once they go through the museum.

Speer intentionally includes unique experiences when he is planning Chorale performance tours. During previous trips, students did things like see the redwoods in California and walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.

This year, the students will visit the Washington National Cathedral and the American Civil War Center in addition to the Holocaust Museum. They will also visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Art and the D.C. Temple Visitor’s Center of the Church of Latter Day Saints.

“These are places that are definitely unique to where we are going,” Speer said. “These experiences allow the students to get a perspective of the places we are visiting that they might not get otherwise.”

One of the biggest benefits of the performance tour is the musical experience it provides to students. Students spend much of the week on a tour bus, dealing with all of the typical stresses and rigors of traveling performers. Although the students are not all music majors, they all most take part in the semester-long course. This year, 21 students will participate.

Each year, Chorale group holds four major concerts including Christmas Vespers in the fall. The group has toured as far away as Jamaica and also invites professional composers for residencies and commissions.

“A student who is involved in Chorale for several years is going to get a variety of different experiences,” Speer said. “The student is going to get a sense of the discipline required for performance touring.”

For Speer, the uniqueness of Chorale’s 2009 tour and the centerpiece performance at the Holocaust Museum has made it even more exciting.

“The true power of these selections is evident the more we perform,” he said. “This is a remarkable group, and it’s going to be am amazing experience.”


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