Release Date: 4/6/1999
Clarksville, Ark. --- The University of the Ozarks music department will be packing its bags and hitting the road in late April for the group's first tour in four years.
The University Chorus and the college's handbell choir, the University Ringers, will take part in a three-state tour of Presbyterian Churches in late April. The tour begins with a concert in Ponca City, Okla., on April 22 and also includes stops in Arlington, Texas; Camden and Conway.
U of O Choral Director Dr. David De Seguirant believes the tour will help Ozarks reconnect with churches and give the college regional exposure, not to mention improve the quality of the choir.
"Any time we can get our students out there and showcase their talents and abilities, it's going to speak well for the university," De Seguirant said. "Our students are excited about the opportunity to perform in front of different audiences. I think you prepare differently when you're getting ready to perform for an outside audience. You want to put your best foot forward. I think a tour brings out the best in a choir."
Ozarks' music department offers a bachelor of arts degree with emphasis in keyboard performance (piano or organ), vocal performance or church music. The University Chorus has about 30 members this semester, down from a four-year high of 40 in the Fall Semester. De Seguirant hopes the tour helps spark interest in the University Chorus from both current students and prospective students.
"The tour is a big draw for a lot of students. It builds excitement on campus and I think it will get people involved who otherwise might not be involved," he said. "A lot of universities use choir tours as a recruiting tool and I'd like to see that happen here down the road. Prospective students like to see an active choir, one that is out there performing on a regular basis. That's why I hope we can continue this tour once a year."
Andrea Frost, a senior biology major from Forrest City and the president of the University Chorus, said the tour has created an air of excitement among students.
"When we perform on campus it's usually in front of other students who are there for Convo credit, so this is more of an entertainment atmosphere," Frost said. "We're excited about performing in front of a different audience."
The opportunity to travel and spend time with their colleagues is also intriguing for the students.
"It will be a good bonding experience and should bring the whole choir closer together," Frost said. "We've done a lot of work preparing for this, both vocally and mentally, and we can't wait to start."
In addition to the upcoming tour, the music department is in the process of putting together the university's first select, auditioned chorus in four years, Coro Cappella. The select ensemble's first project will be a joint performance of J.S. Bach's Magnificat with the Fort Smith Symphony during the Fall semester.
"Ideally, I'd like to see about 30 in the select choir and 30 more in the University Chorus, but that may be tough to do on a campus of 500," De Seguirant said.