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Release: Immediate

UI Kantorei will perform classical works, folk songs and spirituals March 7

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kantorei, the premiere vocal ensemble of the University of Iowa School of Music, will present a program of classical music, folk songs and spirituals at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 7, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The concert, under the direction of William Hatcher, will be free and open to the public. Kantorei will perform the same program on tour, with appearances at Zion Lutheran Church in Clinton at 7:30 p.m. March 5 and at Iowa Wesleyan College in Washington at 7:30 p.m. March 8.

The first half of the program will be devoted to classical works, with J.S. Bach's monumental motet "Jesu, meine Freude" (Jesus my joy), BWV 227, as the featured work. An extensive composition of 11 movements written for unaccompanied choir, "Jesu, meine Freude" is considered one of the great masterworks of the choral repertoire.

"Jesu, meine Freude" was probably written for the funeral service for Johanna Maria Keese, the widow of Leipzig's postmaster, held July 18, 1723. The motet's 11 movements are laid out in a symmetrical pattern, with the first and last movements being identical and musical correspondences between movements two and 10 and so forth. The central movement is written as a fugue, the strictest style of contrapuntal composition.

Other works on the first half of the Kantorei program will be by Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Charles V. Stanford and Jan Campanus-Vodnansky. All will be sung a capella, except for Brahms' "An die Heimat" (To my homeland), which will be accompanied on piano by music graduate student Samuel Kwok.

The second half of the program will consist entirely of folk songs and spirituals, including the familiar "Shenandoah," "Deep River," "My Lord, What a Mornin' " and "Elijah Rock." Student soloists featured from the group during this portion of the program will be soprano Jennifer Valle, mezzo-soprano Ann Cravero, tenor Dirk Garner, soprano Leanne Foust and tenor Oliver Stoutner.

A select choral ensemble, Kantorei consists principally of graduate students in voice performance and choral conducting. The group performs regularly on the UI campus, tours throughout Iowa and the Midwest, and has made several international tours in recent years. Graduate student Gregory Milliron is assistant conductor of Kantorei.

In the fall of 1996, Hatcher lead Kantorei at an International Choral Competition in Tolosa, Spain. Prior to that honor, Kantorei was one of only five choirs chosen to participate in the 1994 World Choral Festival in Seoul, South Korea. In 1990 Kantorei performed the Mozart "Requiem" with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and other orchestras in the former Soviet Union, and also gave concerts in Russia, Estonia and Finland. Kantorei has also performed for regional and national conventions of the ACDA in 1992 and 1993.

Hatcher has served as director of choral activities at the UI School of Music since 1988. He directs the graduate choral conducting program, conducts choral ensembles in the School of Music and frequently appears as music director of productions by the UI Opera Theater.

He was national president of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) 1991-93, and presently is chair of the ACDA Endowment Trust. Prior to coming to Iowa he taught at UCLA, the University of Washington and Pasadena City College.

Hatcher's concert tours with other collegiate ensembles have included Europe, Greece, the British Isles, Canada, Hawaii and the western United States. In 1985 his UCLA choir was selected as the sole U.S. representative and was a prize winner at the International Competition for Choirs in Spittal, Austria. Hatcher was also coordinator and assistant director of the 1000-voice Olympic Honor Chorus, which sang for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles, an event telecast to more than two billion people worldwide.

Hatcher has published materials on choral skills and choral arrangements, and he appears frequently as a choral clinician and festival choir director.