Vocal Accord to Perform Farewell Tour Concert on June 7

Program Features Highlights from Upcoming 14-Day European Concert Tour

The Montclair State University Vocal Accord, a 24-voice extracurricular chamber choir, will present a free Farewell Tour Concert on Thursday, June 7 at 8:00 p.m. in the Leshowitz Recital Hall located in Chapin Hall. The group, which is auditioned from the 60-member Montclair State University Singers, will perform sacred and secular selections from their upcoming European tour repertoire.

“The first Vocal Accord made its debut performance in January 2010,” notes Heather J. Buchanan, associate professor of music and director of Choral Activities. “This year we had a specific agenda resulting from an invitation by the University of Music and Performing Arts, or KUG, in Graz, Austria, to visit in June.”

Buchanan was completing a residency at the KUG in June 2010, when the invitation for Vocal Accord to visit was extended. Following a welcome reception with the Mayor of Graz, Vocal Accord will rehearse with the KUG choir and the Schlosschor under its conductor, Franz Jochum. The group’s Graz performance schedule includes its own concert, a partnership concert with the KUG choir, and participation in a community music festival with a Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra ensemble and the Schlosschor that Buchanan will conduct. She will also deliver a lecture to KUG students and faculty.

Vocal Accord will also perform in a concert of sacred music with noted youth choir, the Landesjugend Chor Wien, at St. Peterskirche in Vienna, and in a concert at the historic Renaissance church, Chiesa Santa Maria dei Miracoli in Venice, Italy.

While the Farewell Tour Concert’s repertoire features music from a range of composers including Mozart, Handel, Samuel Barber, and Aaron Copland, the program emphasizes selections from American and new composers. “For this tour, we were specifically invited to perform music by American composers. One of the highlights of our program will be the European premiere of She Walks in Beauty, a University Singers commission composed by Montclair State alumnus Martin A. Sedek,” Buchanan says.
 
The group’s repertoire also includes two South African pieces, Amavolovolo, which will be sung in Zulu, and Jikela eMaweni, performed in Xhosa. According to Vocal Accord tenor Peter Ncanywa, “These are folk songs, but the arrangements are by my choirmaster at the Drakensberg Boys’Choir School.” The South African native is looking forward to visiting Europe for the first time.
 
Vocal Accord leaves for Vienna on June 14 and will fly home on June 27. Two Montclair State digital media students will accompany the choral group to film a tour documentary under the direction of Steve McCarthy. The final one-hour film will be aired on NJTV, which is supporting the project.

“The 14-day tour will serve as an educational and artistic opportunity for Montclair State students, as well as providing a cultural bridge between choral music in America and the choirs we will perform with in Europe,” Buchanan explains. 

While this will be the first time abroad for a number of the students, the tour will feel like a homecoming to Vocal Accord soprano Jessica Eucker ’13, who spent last year studying at the KUG in Graz. “I am extremely excited to be returning to Graz,” she says. “I’ve been counting down the days for a long time now. I was proud to call the beautiful city of Graz my home last year and I am ecstatic at being able to show it off to my friends and peers from Montclair State.”

The Vocal Performance and Theatre Studies major can’t wait to reunite with professors, mentors, and friends from the KUG. “We’re going to perform at the KUG’s annual Redoute – an all-night concert and celebration with live performances, bands, dancing, and good beer and wine,” she says. “Last year, this fell on my very last night in Graz and I would love to make it an annual tradition.”

Eucker – along with her fellow Vocal Accord singers – is well on her way to fulfilling her wish.