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ISU Chamber Choir Prestigious Invitation to Perform in Regional Conference

January 25, 2024

Members of the ISU Chamber Choir in formal dress perform in a church

Idaho State Chamber Choir traveled to Spokane, Washington January 24-27 to perform at the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Northwest Region Conference on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at Spokane’s Fox Theater.

Being selected to perform at the conference, which covers the Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming, is a great honor reflecting the excellence of the choral program at ISU.

"This is a well-deserved opportunity to demonstrate the high-quality programming that is delivered by our School of Performing Arts at Idaho State University,” said outgoing ISU President Kevin Satterlee. “I am proud of the faculty, staff, and students who represent us so well." 

The ADCA stands as an exclusive professional association dedicated solely to the realm of choral music.  Each year, the ACDA invites only six university groups to perform. Steven M Zielke, Ph.D, President of the Northwest Region American Choral Directors Association says that Dr. Anderson and ISU are one of the historically top performing choral programs in the Northwest as is demonstrated by their frequent invitations to perform at a regional level.

“An invited performance at the Northwest Region of the American Choral Directors Association represents a high level of excellence, placing that choir among the top performers nationally,” Zielke said. “Many of the choral directors look forward in particular to performances by our university colleagues who represent the highest standards, providing attendees with an example of what they should strive for in their own work. Such an invitation is indeed an honor and ISU should be proud of the tradition of excellence that has been built by Dr. Anderson.”

“Because we have been invited to perform so many times, we continue to put ISU up front on a regional level,” Anderson says. “When choral directors across the region think of a place for their students to consider, they think of ISU.”

The ISU Chamber Choir is a select mixed collegiate choral ensemble open to all students of the University by audition. Chamber Choir singers are selected based upon exemplary levels of musicianship and artistic commitment. The ISU Chamber Choir has performed in 20 countries around the world during nine international tours since 1994, and has been selected for performance at eight ACDA or National Association for Music Education Regional Conferences since 1998.

“ISU has an exceptional choral program with dedicated faculty and staff,” says Dean Kandi Turley Ames. “We are so proud to be part of an institution that values and prioritizes excellence in the arts.”

The 17 person choir includes sopranos: Joy Curtis, Miren Gabiola, Clarissa Juarez, Mavity Shaw; altos: Emily Aldrin, Jöe Cook, Lorelei Dowland, Shea Orr; tenors: John DeRouen, Karson Goodworth, Gabriel Lowman; and basses: Kyle Bascom, Gabriel Beckman, Parker Carlson, Ethan Davis, Maximo Orr, and Adam Redd. Gabriel Lowman, an ISU graduate with a BM in Piano Performance, is the pianist for the ISU Chamber Choir.

Choir member Clarissa Juarez, a health science major and music minor says, “I’m looking forward to this trip because I will get to listen to different choirs create beautiful music as the chamber choir does at ISU. Since I am a freshman, this will be the first time I will be traveling with an excellent choir and also representing ISU.”

The group will travel by bus to the conference. In order to fund the trip, each of the choir members submitted grant applications to the College of Arts and Letters, in which the Department of Music is housed, and appealed to the Associated Students of Idaho State University (ASISU) to request funding. The College of Arts and Letters funded all 16 students, for a total of $8000, and ASISU funded $6,370. 

“ASISU was thrilled to provide support for students attending this conference,” says ASISU President, Emma Watts. “This year, we have prioritized funding for both research and non-research conference travel, particularly when our students represent ISU at regional and national levels. Our choir students aren’t just ambassadors of music, but also reflect our university’s intellectual creativity and unity."

At the conference, Anderson says the students will spend three days immersed in presentations, workshops, and performances. They will also have the opportunity to network and learn about employment in the field. 

Parker Carlson, a freshman working on his Musical Education degree says that he firmly believes a choir is its very best with friendships and bonds between the singers. 

“While we have formed some of these essential relationships,” he says, “I can only see this trip improving our sound as an ensemble. Furthermore, networking as a future teacher could be the difference in getting a job in an area that I would want. All and all, this could be a once in a lifetime opportunity for us.”

The conference has had a direct impact on Anderson as a choral director over the years. As a director, Anderson says that he’s programmed some of the music he’s heard at the ACDA conferences for his own choirs at ISU. 

At the conference, Anderson will lead the Chamber Choir in a presentation of "Ring Out, Wild Bells" by English composer Jonathan Dove, written for double choir and an extraordinary piano part, played by ISU music alumni, Gabriel Lowman. The mixed ensemble will continue with performance of South African composer Franco Prinsloo's setting of "Salve Regina" featuring tenor Karson Goodworth; Gioacchino Rossini's "La Passeggiata" featuring pianist Lowman and soprano Miren Gabiola; the poignant Dale Trombore setting of "In the Middle;" and "He's Got the Whole Word in His Hands" arranged by Cedric Dent, featuring Kyle Bascom, baritone.


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