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 2004 Spring Tour on Thursday, March 4 with a concert at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Oviedo, Fla. This year's tour will include 11 additional concerts in Florida. 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."
The choir's repertoire ranges from Renaissance to contemporary music. It includes selections sung in English, Latin, German, Russian, French and Spanish.
Featured in the concert program this year is the motet for two choirs, "Komm, Jesu, komm" by J.S. Bach. A variety of works ranging from spirituals to well-loved hymns will be performed, along with two pieces from the Russian Orthodox Church.
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."
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