Sunday, October 24, 2010

26th Annual High School Women's Choir Festival soon!

Dr. Nancy Menk (in white coat)

For anyone with a HS women's choir in the Indiana/Michigan/northern Illinois area, you should be attending the St. Mary's College annual festival, founded by Dr. Nancy Menk. I was one of the clinicians last year and it was a great event. Here's some quick background on last year, the plans for this year, and as a bonus-- how Dr. Menk kept busy, busy, busy last season!

26th Annual High School Women's Choir Festival coming up soon!

Last fall, the 25th annual High School Women's Choir Festival was held November 19 and 20, with 20 choirs from 4 states participating. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the festival, all participants premiered a new work by Canadian composer Eleanor Daley, commissioned especially for the occasion. “How the Flowers Came,” for SSAA and piano, is published by Alliance Music. Daley rehearsed the massed choir on her new work, and also served as a commentator along with composer-conductors Paul Carey and Lee Kesselman.

This year’s festival will be held on November 18th and 19th, 2010 with commentators Paul, Caldwell, Sean Ivory, and Barbara Tagg.

What my friend Dr. Nancy Menk was up to last year- whew, busy, busy!

Dr. Nancy Menk, Mary Lou and Judd Leighton Chair in Music, conducted the 120-voice Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus and members of the orchestra in 2 performances of Handel’s Messiah this season. She also prepared the Chorus for the Holiday Pops concert, a concert version of Puccini’s Turandot with DuPage Opera, Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, and a concert of the music of Cole Porter.

Menk led the South Bend Chamber Singers in their 21st season of concerts as an ensemble-in-residence at Saint Mary’s College. You may read more about the SBCS in this edition of Overtones.

On Valentine’s Day, Dr. Menk conducted over 175 singers and orchestra in a sold-out performance of Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna at Carnegie Hall. Members of the Saint Mary’s College Women’s Choir, the South Bend Chamber Singers, and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus participated, along with the LaPorte High School Treble and Mixed Chorales (Tom Coe, director), the Northwood High School Choir (Jeff Cramer, director), and the El Segundo High School Choir from California.

In October, Menk gave a talk to the Michiana Music Teachers Association on working with an accompanist. Menk attended the American Choral Directors Association Central Division conference in Cincinnati in February. She conducted a reading session on medium-advanced repertoire for women’s choirs. In the spring semester she served as choral clinician at Culver Academy and LaPorte High School, and she served as an adjudicator for the Michigan School Vocal Music Association’s state choral contest at Holt, MI.

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