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Choral Festival to provide networking opportunity for vocal music students

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By Kayla Tucker – A&E/Features Editor

Community Colleges around the state will gather for the Michigan Community College Choral Festival Nov. 19 at the St. Cecilia Music Center Royce Auditorium in Grand Rapids.

Each year Grand Rapids Community College participates in the festival, and a guest director is brought in from a four-year university to counsel and make connections with the community college students who plan on attending a university at some point. In years past, directors have come from Eastern Michigan University, Hope College, and Michigan State University.

This year’s guest conductor is Dr. Gabriela Hristova, of University of Michigan, Flint.

“I’m excited about what these directors are going to hear from our students,” said Dr. Stephen Barton, Director of Choral Activities at GRCC. “I’m excited about watching their attitude change and (to) see them get excited about considering community college students as a strong source of students for their own schools.”

The colleges attending are Henry Ford Community College, Macomb Community College, Northern Michigan College, Kalamazoo Community College, Lansing Community College, and GRCC.

Each choir will have two pieces prepared, as well as three group pieces that all the choirs will sing together with Hristova conducting.

GRCC’s concert choir alone will be singing “World I Cannot Hold Thee Close Enough” by Colin Britt and “Come To Me My Love” by Norman Dello Joio.

Barton described the pieces as contemporary choral literature.

“There’s a sort of a grandness to the pieces,” Barton said. “They’re a little bit on the complicated side musically, but they’re very rich emotionally.”

Barton said he’s excited at the opportunity for all community college students to have their talents, abilities and work recognized by another professional choral musician representing a Michigan university.

The day will begin with a warm up, and then continue with rehearsals until the final performance in the afternoon. Hristova will be advising all the choirs as she watches them rehearse. Anybody is welcome to watch throughout the day, but the official concert will begin at 3 p.m. Admission is free.