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Release: Oct. 8, 1999

American Boychoir spans the centuries in Oct. 24 Hancher Auditorium concert

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The American Boychoir, "the Nation's Favorite Concert Choir," will span the centuries in a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24 in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The concert will be preceded by lobby performances featuring three local children's choirs -- from Willowind School in Iowa City, and the Johnson School of the Arts and St. Pius X School in Cedar Rapids. The performances by the local choirs will begin when the lobby opens at 2:15 p.m.

The American Boychoir matinee concert conducted by music director James Litton will be presented in three sections: "Great Works for Boys' Voices from Many Centuries," "Folk Songs and Art Songs," and "Songs and Spirituals from America." The repertoire ranges from European sacred works by Scarlatti, Purcell and Haydn; through South African folk songs and Eastern European folk songs scored by Bartok; to medleys of spirituals and Gershwin songs.

Founded in 1937, the American Boychoir makes more than 200 appearances and four to five major tours annually, making it the most active touring vocal ensemble in the country. Its performances have included collaborations with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Boston Symphony; cellist Yo-Yo Ma; trumpeter Wynton Marsalis; and opera singers Jessye Norman, Frederica von Stade and Kathleen Battle.

A New York Times review has praised the choir for "voices so powerful, so pitch perfect, so artistically exquisite."

The choir has appeared numerous times on NBC-TVs "Today" Show, is featured on 16 recordings and can be seen regularly on PBS in the documentary "Journey of Butterfly," based on the holocaust memorial composition "I Never Saw Another Butterfly," written specifically for the American Boychoir.

Litton has been music director of the American Boychoir for 14 seasons, developing a reputation as one of America's most prominent vocal conductors and as a leading specialist in children's vocal techniques. In addition to his work in the United States, including work at the Tanglewood Festival and the Lincoln Center Festival, he has been featured at festivals in Germany, Denmark, Latvia, France, Poland, Taiwan, South Korea and South Africa.

He has served on the faculties of the Westminster Choir College of Rider University, the Princeton Theological Seminary, the Virginia Theological University and the University of the South. He is one of only six Americans to become a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music.

Corporate sponsor of the American Boychoir is Group 5 Hospitality/Radisson Highlander Plaza, with media support from KHAK-PM/KDAT-FM/KRNA-FM through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets to the American Boychoir are $22.50, $20 and $17.50. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

The entire 1999-2000 Hancher season -- including the season-spanning Millennium Festival, the nation's most ambitious and extensive performing-arts millennium celebration -- is detailed in a free brochure, "At This Moment," which is available from the Hancher administrative offices
(319-335-1130) or the Hancher box office.

Learn more about the American Boychoir on the World Wide Web at <>. For UI arts news and information, and arts calendar updates, visit the ArtsIowa website, <>.