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Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir to celebrate College’s 175th anniversary with tour

| Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Saint Mary’s Women’s Choir will begin its bi-annual concert tour Friday, making stops at nine venues around the Midwest and Northeast including ones in Cleveland, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, ending with a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The final concert will feature a Saint Mary’s alumnae choir — welcoming over 60 guest singers from six other women’s choirs — in honor of Saint Mary’s 175th anniversary.

This is not the first time the Saint Mary’s choir has performed at Carnegie Hall. According to the spring tour’s program, the choir also visited the venue in 1999, 2001 and 2005.

Choral activities director and music professor Nancy Menk said the group will be performing pieces of special significance to the College.

“I picked a lot of Marian-themed music, Magnificats [and] sacred music for women’s voices with an orchestra in honor of Saint Mary’s,” Menk said.  “ … The girls in [the choir] are good singers, good musicians and they have a good background, so they’re able to learn a pretty challenging level.”

Freshman Mollie Gniadek, a member of the choir, said she is “excited to grow closer to all [the] choir members and make friends.” She said her love of music led her to become a part of the group.

“I wanted to continue my passion for music and I wanted to be involved because I’m not majoring in music,” she said.

Menk said Saint Mary’s alumnae will be opening their doors to the choir during their various stops around the country.

“Because we’re staying four nights in a hotel in New York, we’re doing home stays with alumnae families in the cities we’re visiting,” she said. “And in almost every city, the alumnae club is sponsoring some sort of dinner.”

Beyond celebrating the College’s 175th anniversary, Menk said the concert and tour will serve to bring past choir members together.

“What’s cool about the Carnegie Hall concert is that it’s not just the current choir. Its gonna be a 250-voice choir made up of our current choir [and] 60 voice alumnae,” she said. “In other words, my past students are coming back from all over the world to sing, [including] three choirs conducted by Saint Mary’s alumnae from Denver, Indiana and Pennsylvania.”

Gniadek is especially looking forward to the New York concert performance. She said she hopes her “feelings of love towards the choir will grow.” Menk said these sentiments actually enhance a performance.

“There’s always bonding, and that helps you sing,” Menk said. “So that’s always a benefit of a tour. … I think it’s going to be really meaningful, and [Interim College President Nancy Nekvasil] is going to be there as well.”

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