On Saturday, Oct. 7, the University of Wisconsin-Platteville will welcome the Midwest Choral Artists, an ensemble of musicians from across Central Wisconsin, with a special connection to UW-Platteville.
The Midwest Choral Artists, now in its fifth season, is made up of 32 members, nearly all of them UW-Platteville alumni, current students and employees. The ensemble is co-directed by Dr. Bob Demaree, director of choral activities at UW-Platteville, and UW-Platteville alumnus Jason Troxel.
Demaree praises the ensemble members’ dedication to singing together, noting that some travel from as far away as Fond du Lac, Milwaukee and La Crosse, Wisconsin. They begin their season in August with a one-day retreat rehearsal in Platteville, followed by five, weekly four-hour rehearsals in Madison to prepare for a concert.
Last month, Demaree and the ensemble were pleased to find that dedication paid off, as they were notified of their acceptance to perform at the highly selective Wisconsin Choral Directors Association conference this Winter.
“WCDA is a very prestigious invitation for us, and we were exceptionally proud to accept,” said Demaree. “While we don’t have official ties to UW-Platteville, the connection is obviously strong. Representing both Midwest Choral Artists and UW-Platteville is a really cool thing for us.”
The Midwest Choral Artists’ October performance on campus will provide a preview of their WCDA premiere. Demaree describes the ensemble’s literature as “eclectic” – ranging from the traditional canon to contemporary choral works and multicultural voices. This season will feature three pieces by composer Jocelyn Hagen, a piece written by a female blues artist, music from composer Johannes Brahms, a selection from the musical “Pippin,” and an arrangement by Eric Whitacre of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt.”
Demaree says that the musical opportunities UW-Platteville provides – whether it is within the Department of Performing and Visual Arts or outside groups, like the Midwest Choral Artists – serve an important role at the university and the greater Platteville area.
“I think it’s important to remember that part of the UW-Platteville mission relates to serving as a cultural center for southwestern Wisconsin,” said Demaree. “We may not have as many cultural options as exist in Madison or Milwaukee, but the ones we do produce can aspire to excellence just as well. We hope to show that our love of the choral art transcends time and demographic.”
For more information about Midwest Choral Artists, visit http://sites.google.com/view/midwestchoralartists/. The choir will perform on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Brodbeck Concert Hall, Center for the Arts, UW-Platteville campus. The event is open to the public and has no admission charge, but will have a freewill offering. The ensemble will perform again at Trinity Lutheran Church in Madison on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 3 p.m.