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How Can EMU Choir Keep from Singing?

Posted on April 5th, 2006

EMU Chamber SingersEMU Chamber Singers
Photo by Jim Bishop

The Chamber Singers, a select student choir at EMU, will present a program of worship in music 7 p.m. Sunday, Apr. 23, at Park View Mennonite Church, N. College Ave., Harrisonburg.

The 29-voice choir, under the direction of Kenneth J. Nafziger, will draw from many sources in exploring the theme, "Singing in the Presence of Fear."

Composers and material will include Johann Sebastian Bach, Alberto Ginastera, African-American spirituals, old popular songs and a series of songs of the seasons from Franz Joseph Haydn, Kevin Olson, Johannes Brahms and Matthew Harris.

"The idea for the concert was prompted by Wendell Berry’s essay, In the Presence of Fear,’ which appeared around the world very shortly after the events of 9/11, and on my observations during the time after that event that people, when they gathered, had an unusual – in our culture – need to sing," Dr. Nafziger said.

"The host of witnesses whose music is included on this concert have sung from their lived experiences," Nafziger added. "They are a diverse crowd, from around the globe, from across history. It is they who have faced fears, and who have chosen to sing anyway. We join our voices to the voices of those who have sung and still sing in the presence of fear."

Nafziger is professor of music at EMU. His teaching responsibilities include directing the EMU Chamber Singers and courses in conducting, interdisciplinary humanities and world music. Nafziger is also artistic director and conductor of the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival held in June each year on the EMU campus.

Nafziger was music editor of "Hymnal: a Worship Book," released in 1992, and editor of its Accompaniment Handbook (1993). He is co-author of the book, "Singing: a Mennonite Voice."

Admission to the program is free; donations are welcomed for the EMU music department student scholarship fund.

Story by Jim Bishop
Category: Music
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