LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Singers from Lock Haven University delivered distinguished performances at the Pennsylvania Collegiate Choral Association Festival at Juniata College, Thursday through Saturday, February 5-7, 2009.Lock Haven University is a member of the Pennsylvania State
System of Higher Education (PASSHE), the largest provider of higher education in
the commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 250 degree and certificate
programs in more than 120 areas of study. Nearly 405,000 system alumni live and
work in Pennsylvania.
Accompanying Ron Miller, LHU director of choral activities, were singers Katie Kuhn, Lindsey Griffith, Brooke Sternesky, Jess Fisher, Carrie Fisher, Kori Birch, Phillip Bergeman, Chuck Bungo, Rick Garlock, Cian Ruane and Abe Nickle.
The festival’s 98-member ensemble was comprised of students from Clarion University, East Stroudsburg University, Immaculata University, Indiana University of PA, Juniata College, Mansfield University, Millersville University, Philadelphia Biblical University, St. Francis University, Seton Hill College, Slippery Rock University, Thiel College, York College and Lock Haven University. During the first evening of rehearsal, in response to questions by the conductor, LHU student Phillip Bergeman delivered an impromptu talk on composer Claudio Monteverdi’s first opera, “Orfeo” and received an ovation from the ensemble.
On the second day, auditions were held for the solo portions in the concert repertoire. Two of Lock Haven's sopranos, Katie Kuhn and Lindsey Griffith, were among ten who auditioned for the one significant solo, a two-page soprano solo in Norman Dello Joio's "A Jubilant Song.” Kuhn and Griffith were among the three who survived the first cut. Later that day, conductor Craig Jessop awarded the solo to Kuhn.
On Friday evening, those schools who wished to participate in the small ensemble competition were invited to perform one selection from their university's repertoire. LHU students were among four schools who competed. The conditions for participation specified that the selection must be unaccompanied, memorized and not conducted. The LHU singers won the small ensemble competition for their performance of "Peace I Leave With You" by Walter Pelz.
Upon returning to campus, Miller said, “I am very proud of our students and how well they represented themselves and their university.” He said that the LHU singers “stood very tall among all who attended this festival” and added, “Almost all of the participating schools' conductors told me how well they performed.”
Jessop, this year's guest conductor, is former director of The Singing Sergeants and recently retired from the Director's position of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Miller said, “Very simply stated, Dr. Jessop was the finest choral technician I have ever witnessed. The ensemble's transformation was nothing short of miraculous. Our students are tremendously fortunate to have had this opportunity.”