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Madrigal Singers Gear Up for International Performance

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March 20, 2009 -

A University of Redlands choral group known for its performances of both spiritual and secular pieces has been gaining national and international attention.

The Madrigal Singers has been selected to participate in Festival 500, Sharing the Voices, a celebrated international non-competitive festival of choral music. The festival will be held July 2-12 in one of North America’s oldest cities, St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

The community can help support the choir’s trip on Saturday, March 21, when the choir gives a benefit concert at 8 p.m. in Memorial Chapel where they will perform works from the repertoire selected for Canada as well as solo repertoire. A $5 minimum donation is requested, with proceeds going to Madrigal’s tour.

The Redlands choir was one of more than 150 choirs that auditioned to perform at the international festival. Only 30 choirs were ultimately selected to perform. The prestigious festival is accompanied by an academic symposium on the phenomenon of singing. The event brings together singers, conductors and scholars representing a variety of countries and cultures worldwide.

The quality of performers at the event will make the experience particularly memorable for Redlands students, according to Nicholle Andrews, director of choral studies at the university. “At the festival, students participate in the very best of the world’s musical artistry and scholarship,” said Andrews. “Infused with a joyful spirit, this sharing of voices results in powerful and enriching experiences for all involved.”

The theme of the Festival 500, 2009, is highlighting the power of song, with the idea that “songs are the basic building blocks of choral music. They have functioned as beacons for joy, sirens for mystery, laments for grief and bells tolling disaster for as long as we have recorded the passage of time. With their rhythms, rhymes and meanings, songs have always been with us… part of a universal global act practiced by all of humanity.”

In March, Redland’s Madrigals were selected to perform again at the California Music Educators Association Conference in Ontario. The conference brings together music educators from the pre-school through university level. Last year, the choir performed at the association’s conference in Sacramento and were invited to return for a second time this year.

“It is a true honor to be invited to perform for two consecutive years,” said Andrews. The University of Redlands Madrigal Singers was created in 1992 under the direction of Jeffrey Rickard. Originally a women’s choir, Madrigal Singers began as the result of the large number of women enrolled in the choral program, combined with the need for an ensemble to perform secular choral works.

Past directors of the Women’s Madrigal Singers have been Jeffrey Rickard, Katherine Hickey and Eniko St. Clair. In 2006, Andrews became the director of the 23-voice chamber choir which performed both sacred and secular choral works. The Madrigal Singers are regular performers in the annual Feast of Lights at the university, which Andrews also directs.

Members of Madrigals Singers:

Soprano: Michelle Abbott, Laurel Hughes, Atalia Malin, Jasmine Tomita, Samantha York; Alto: Jasmine Alvarez, Patricia Ellison, Bethany Hollis, Elizabeth Jolly, Christina Murdock, Caitlin Shaw; Tenor: Julio Carrillo Batta, Brian Chan, Eric Chu, Nadav Hart, Mario Rios; Bass: Joshua Alvarez, Travis Chamberlin, Manuel Heredia, Sean Hughes, Michael Jauregui, Ryan Mills, Nathan Riley.

Nicholle Andrews is founder and conductor emeritus of the professional chamber choir, La Ceilagh. At the university, her areas of specialization include choral conducting, early music history, choral education methods, ear training and musicianship. She earned doctorate and master's degrees in choral conducting at McGill University where she studied with Professor Iwan Edwards, John Baboukis, and Julian Wachner. While at McGill University, Nicholle taught musicianship, instrumental conducting and choral conducting.

For more information, go to www.redlands.edu/music or www.festival500.com. Andrews can be reached at 909-748-8696.

Contact: Nicholle Andrews 909-748-8696 (Phone)

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