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July 3, 2013

Oklahoma State Concert Chorale set for overseas performance

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma State University Concert Chorale will take its talents overseas as part of a 10-day performance tour across France and England.

Performance sites include Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Omaha Beach in Normandy, where a memorial recital and wreath laying will take place.

“It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve performed at any of these sites, each time it is new,” said Concert Chorale Conductor Z. Randall Stroope.

“Each site is monumental. One of the reasons we choose these particular sites is because it does interface with (the students’) study in history here at OSU.”

Stroope said the 43-voice advanced ensemble represents many disciplines at OSU, but for each, vocal music is a strong passion.

He said the group will perform pieces from Johann Pachelbel, Henry Purcell and an original piece from Stroope titled “The Conversion of Saul.”

“It’s part of our OSU Concert Chorale, which performs a regular concert season and we select works from that season and take them on tour in the summer,” Stroope said.

The group will leave Friday, but not before a six-hour rehearsal on the Fourth of July.

“We are doing, as one might expect, a few folk songs that are American,” he said. “One is ‘Shenandoah’ and we’re doing a spiritual called ‘Beulahland.’”

Stroope said OSU places great value on the appreciation and study of other cultures.

“These singers are musical ambassadors for the university, Oklahoma and this country, and the students have taken this responsibility very seriously in their preparation,” Stroope said. “They are honored and excited at the same time.”

For many students in the OSU Concert Chorale, it’s a trip of firsts.

“In some cases, this is the first time that students have not only been overseas, but it’s the first time that many of them have been on planes,” he said.

The group will also perform at St. John’s University in Cambridge, England, as part of the OSU Honors Program culmination.

“Cambridge has been a long established connection with OSU,” Stroope said.

“The honors college here has had a summer extension program in Cambridge and this is an anniversary celebration of that program. That’s why we have such a large contingent to be a part of that anniversary.”

OSU President Burns Hargis and first cowgirl Ann Hargis, along with faculty, administrators, Regents and others, will attend the anniversary ceremony.

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