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SMC choir finishes spring break tour

M.B. Gizinski | Friday, March 20, 2009

The Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir will wrap up their spring break tour with a Homecoming Concert today.

Over spring break, 31 members of the Women’s Choir toured the Great Lakes region, including Detroit and Toronto. They visited churches and schools to promote the Saint Mary’s music program.

“In the daytime, we went to high schools with strong women choral programs,” Choral conductor and Professor of Music Nancy Menk said. “In the evenings, we went to churches with great acoustics that highlighted the choir’s voices.”

Menk said female Catholic high schools are the main feeder for the program.

This trip was freshman Elizabeth Carian’s first choral tour. She said the tour was a beneficial experience for everyone involved.

“[The tour] gets the school’s name out there as well as giving us a chance to learn,” Carian said. “We learn from the choirs we sing with and the schools we perform for learn from us.”

Menk said she hopes students enjoyed the trip as well as learned from it.

“I pick the end city first and go from there. I always try to pick fun cities because it is [the choir member’s] spring break. I also try to choose places with active alumni clubs,” she said.

Menk said this combination of work and fun helped to sync the choir. The choir becomes better musically when they form stronger bonds socially.

“The tour bonds them socially and musically. It makes us better, more cohesive. We achieve one sound,” Menk said.

The concert today is the final one of the choir’s tour and the seniors’ last.

“I have been in Women’s Choir for all four years of college,” senior Lindsey Appelquist said. “At other schools you must be a music major to be in the top choir, and I really enjoyed the acceptance of this music department with being a science major.”

During the homecoming concert, Menk said the choir will focus on religious songs from different eras. Each member has a song that she prefers.

“My favorite song is ‘Ubi Caritas’ by Eleanor Daley because it is a beautiful piece that begins with a chant, brings in a three-part harmony in the middle and then ultimately ends with a chant again,” Appelquist said. “It is a good example of the development of music throughout history while holding on to traditional text.”

The concert will begin tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of Loretto.