PLYMOUTH, N.H. — The Plymouth State University Chamber Singers are back from a “triumphant” tour of the Southwest United States, and will share some of the tour repertoire with the public at a free concert at 1 p.m., Feb. 8, at the Silver Center for the Arts.
“We sang everywhere, from the artificial cities and hubbub of cars in Las Vegas, to the profound beauty and natural silence of Antelope Canyon,” said PSU sophomore music major Katherine Lenhart, of Norwich, Vt. “We established new relationships not only with members of the group and the music we performed, but with the cultures we experienced and the land we traversed,” she said.
Before a tour, students spend a semester studying the culture and history of a region. The repertoire for the Southwest tour included four settings of Native American texts by Professor Jonathan Santore, chair of the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at PSU.
“Jonathan’s compositions, ‘The Whole World is Coming,’ were very well received by the Navajo audience,” according to Chamber Singers conductor, Professor Dan Perkins. The students visited a Navajo Village in Page, Ariz., slept on the ground in hogans and performed at the village cultural arts building.
“The evening we spent in the Navajo hogan was the most memorable for me. Our Navajo guide, Wally, told us about tribal traditions, the history of the tribe and most importantly, about the spiritual lifestyle they lead. … Later that night I reflected on the countless connections in what he had to say with our Native American texts,” said Lauren Burbank, a senior theatre arts major from Bedford, N.H.
The tour also included a workshop and performance at the high school in Kanab, Utah; a workshop at Arrowhead Elementary School in St. George, Utah; and a workshop at Tonaquint Middle School in St. George, Utah. Collaborative performances were held with the chamber choirs at Dixie State College in St. George and at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, and with the 200-voice Heritage Choir, a community chorus, at the historic St. George Tabernacle.
The students also stayed at the south rim of the Grand Canyon and hiked to see the sunrise there, in addition to hiking Snow Canyon in the Utah desert.
Perkins, is Bristow-Stevens professor of music and director of choral activities at PSU. He also serves as principal guest conductor of the Vietnam Opera and Ballet in Hanoi, founding director of the New Hampshire Master Chorale and music director of the Manchester Choral Society. Last summer he directed the New Hampshire Friendship Chorus in their tour of the Southern Adriatic.
Tickets for the free concert are available at the Silver Center Box Office, (603) 535-ARTS.
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