SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - When the Wittenberg University Choir was formed in 1930, a reporter predicted in a review that the new group would go on to earn "a national, even international, reputation." That review turned out to be prophetic.
The choir, which has earned so many national and international plaudits, will begin its 2003 Spring Tour on Thursday, March 6 with a concert at First English Lutheran Church in Cincinnati. This year's tour will include 12 concerts in Ohio, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
Under director Dr. Donald A. Busarow, the 50-voice group is one of the most traveled college choral groups in the world, having earned rave reviews from critics all over the United States and in Canada, Latin America, Europe and Russia.
A former Ohio Governor designated the choir "Ohio's Musical Ambassadors of Good Will," based on the group's "eminence among the nation's college choirs."
Practicing at least five hours each week, the choir's repertoire ranges from Renaissance to contemporary music. It includes selections sung in English, Latin, German, Russian, French and Spanish. During the 1989 Christmas season, video and audio cassettes of the choir performing Christmas carols in several different languages were distributed to all 24 television stations in Ohio and to 75 selected radio stations around the state.
Featured in the concert program this year is the motet for five voices "Jesu, meine Freude" by J.S. Bach. A variety of works ranging from spirituals to well-loved hymns will be performed, along with three pieces from the Russian Orthodox Church.
This is the choir's 21st tour under Busarow's direction. Last year, the choir presented 13 concerts in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Ohio and Indiana. Plans are presently underway for a tour of Florida in the spring of 2004.,
Being a singer in the Wittenberg Choir is no easy commitment. Earning a position for one year is no guarantee of a permanent position. Annual auditions are held, and selections are based on voice quality, ability to sing in tune and ability to read music among other qualifications. The choir also is made up of student performers from a wide variety of majors and disciplines, representing every academic department on campus.
Busarow says he has great respect for the students in the choir. "This is an outstanding group of singers," he says, "who want to work, are easy to work with, and possess great morale and spirit."
His approach pays off. As one critic noted, "They don't just sing the notes, they try to convey the true meaning of the music to the audience so that it becomes a worthwhile experience for the listeners."
For a full list of Chior Tour dates please see the Wittenberg Magazine for an online listing.
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