The Concert Choir and the Chamber Singers, the premiere choral ensembles of Heidelberg University’s School of Music, will kick off its performance season with a concert at 3 p. m. on Sunday, Nov. 10, at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, 750 Bright Road, Findlay.
Under the direction of Dr. Greg Ramsdell, director of choral activities and assistant professor of choral music education, the 51-member vocal ensemble will present a concert themed “British Invasion” that will include 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.
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.