(March 4, 2011)

Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073

Centenary Choral music group honored
Chorale to perform at National Conference in Chicago

SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — Centenary College's choral group "Chorale", under the direction of Dr. Julia Thorn, Professor of Music, will depart March 8 for the American Choral Directors Association National Conference in Chicago. Chorale was selected from a large national applicant pool of choral groups to sing at the prestigious event.

The Centenary Chorale

According to Dr. Thorn, more than 4,000 attendees will be present at the conference, which has been the stage for some of the world's best choral groups to share their talents with a national audience.

"The conference is a tremendous event with respect to national exposure for Centenary College," said Dr. Thorn. "The audition process is extremely competitive and the choirs that are invited to perform at this level represent outstanding achievement in choral music. This will be a wonderful opportunity for Centenary students to work to achieve the highest level of success as artists as well as be inspired by other very skilled choirs."

Chorale will be part of a new feature of the conference, as ACDA inaugurates a Jewish Shabbat service to correspond with the Christian service they have traditionally offered during the conference.

Performing at the Shabbat service will be Sursum Corda, a professional choir from Birmingham, Ala.; a performing arts choir from the Chicago College of Performing Arts; and the Centenary Chorale from Shreveport.

All the music for the Shabbat service will be in Hebrew. Rabbi Jana L. De Benedetti from Shreveport's B'nai Zion Congregation has been helping Chorale fine tune their Hebrew pronunciation. "Rabbi Jana's expert leadership has been extremely helpful for the students in understanding both the pronunciation and the cultural context of the Shabbat service," Dr. Thorn said. "We are really grateful for her help. Her work has greatly enhanced the depth of the students' experience in this music."

Christine Linschoten

An additional honor will be given to one of the students in Chorale during the conference. Christine Linschoten, a senior Bachelor of Music Education student at Centenary, is one of eight undergraduate students chosen nationally by a stringent videotaped audition to compete in the ACDA National Conducting Competition. Linschoten has already excelled in this extremely competitive process, performing last year in the ACDA Southern Region conference master class.

During the competition, there will be two rounds of conducting, each with a different set of judges and two different sets of music. Students will be preparing Renaissance, Romantic, Contemporary and Multicultural music for the competition. Linschoten and the other conductors will have eight minutes of rehearsal time on two pieces during each round. Four finalists will be selected for the final round. The choir singing for the student conductors is comprised of eighty college students selected by the invitation of their directors.

Centenary's Chorale students will be leaving early Tuesday morning on a bus bound for Chicago and will return to campus on Sunday morning. While at the conference, they will have opportunities to hear the finest choirs of all ages, both from the US and internationally. A concert by Renée Fleming, Eric Whitacre's opera Paradise Lost, and Helmut Rilling conducting Elijah with the Chicago Symphony will all take place during the conference.

The choral program at Centenary has raised all of the funds for this trip from activities this year, including the Christmas madrigal dinner performed by Camerata.

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.