(September 15, 2009)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073.

Camerata to Perform at Yale University November 5

SHREVEPORT, La.—Camerata, a choral ensemble from the Hurley School of Music at Centenary College, has been invited to perform at the National Collegiate Choral Organization conference, November 5 at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

The choral ensemble from Centenary was selected from one of the largest application pools in the history of the conference, and is one of only nine choirs nationally invited to perform at the prestigious biennial event.

"This is a tremendous event with respect to national exposure for Centenary College and in terms of the caliber of audience that will be in attendance," said Dr. Julia Thorn, conductor of the Camerata. "This is a national conference for choral conductors, so everyone in that audience will be listening with the critical ear of a conductor with the ability to recognize accuracy as well as musicality."

The conference, according to Thorn, has been the stage for some of the best choral groups across the country, including the University of North Texas, Yale University, the Eastman School of Music, Brigham Young University, and the Cincinnati Conservatory among others. "Every choir that has performed in previous years has been phenomenal, and although this is not a competition, it will be a great opportunity for our students to work to achieve a high level of success as artists as well as be inspired by other very skilled choirs," she said. "Anytime you are invited to attend and perform at a national conference, you have the chance to see how you stack up against other programs at this level of accomplishment."

But that is not the only reason Thorn and the choral group is so excited to attend. Of the nine colleges invited, the Camerata from Centenary is the only college from the south...and the only mixed choir from a small liberal arts college to perform. "It is very unusual to have such a small college like Centenary performing on a national venue," added Thorn. Centenary will perform alongside choral groups such as the University of Maryland Chamber Singers, Colorado State University Chamber Choir, University of Missouri Singers, and the Cal State Long Beach Chamber Choir. "We are very excited to have the opportunity to demonstrate that we might be a small school from the south, but that we have an outstanding choral program."

Colleges were selected to perform based on an audition tape and a musical program submitted to the selection committee, which judged the submissions in a blind process. Conductors could choose a possible program from several different categories, such as a chronological program, a historical period program, a major work, or a themed program. Thorn submitted a program that was very appealing to the selection committee. "They want to see the caliber of music each ensemble will perform and establish that the material is such that it would be of interest to other conductors for future performances," she said.

Centenary Camerata will perform a program entitled Heaven and Hell: Choral Gems for the Faith-Based Liberal Arts College. "I think the convention committee was intrigued by the thematic program. I selected pieces all by living composers, within the theme that are very different stylistically as well as in multiple languages. It was a huge challenge incorporating as much variety as possible within the contemporary period while selecting music that is still academic in nature."

In preparation for their big performance in November, Camerata will be performing three concerts in October. They include a concert at Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Shreveport, Sunday, Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 18 at Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City beginning at 6 p.m. The final concert will be held at the Anderson Auditorium on the Centenary campus on Friday, Oct. 23 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The performances are free and open to the public, however donations will be accepted to help defray the cost of travel and lodging for the students.

"It is a huge honor to be invited to sing at a national conference," said Thorn. "The reputation of the college and the music program can only be enhanced by an exceptional performance."

Camerata is an ensemble dedicated to quality artistic performances of choral repertoire from all historical periods and has been under the direction of Dr. Julia Thorn since 1997. The composition of the group is primarily voice majors with a variety of degree emphases, though membership is open to all Centenary students by audition.

Camerata has presented concerts at the southern division convention of the Music Educators National Conference, the Spivey Hall Education Concert Series, the Louisiana Music Education Association Conference, the Louisiana convention of the American Choral Directors Association and has had an Ensemble Debut concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Camerata continues to premiere and record various projects for the Santa Barbara Music Publishing Company and specializes in music by composers such as Eric Whitacre and David Childs. Their performances are lauded for technical excellence combined with genuine understanding of musical expression.

About Centenary College of Louisiana

Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 371 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.