Worthington Chamber Singers spring ahead with joint concert

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Chamber Singers will share the Memorial Auditorium stage this Monday evening with the select St. Cloud State University Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble.

WORTHINGTON -- The Worthington Chamber Singers will share the Memorial Auditorium stage this Monday evening with the select St. Cloud State University Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble.

In concert at 7:30 p.m., the groups are slated to perform a variety of musical numbers, ranging from excerpts of the dramatic "Carmina Burana" by 20th century composer Carl Orff to light-hearted folk songs suitable for an early spring evening.

"This is a great opportunity for our local audience to hear a very polished collegiate group along with a few selections from the Chamber Singers," observed Joseph Osowski, director of the Worthington Chamber Singers and Worthington High School choral instructor.

"I've heard this St. Cloud State choir, and they're wonderful," continued Osowski. "They've been chosen to perform at recent Minnesota music conventions, and one of the joys of technology is you can listen to them on YouTube."

Besides performing Monday night, the college musicians will share some trade secrets with high school choral students in a daytime workshop during their Worthington sojourn.


"They're in the middle of a Midwest tour that includes collaborative workshops with high school choirs from Hastings, Northfield, Marshall and Willmar, too," explained Osowski. "I met their conductor, Dr. Lee Nelson, through the American Choral Directors Association, and he was one of the clinicians at last fall's Southwest Choral Festival.

"He was impressed with our high school choir, and I was bragging about how supportive Worthington was of its music, so we mutually made it work for his singers to come here."

Nelson, St. Cloud State's Concert Choir director, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona and won the graduate division of the 2005 National Conducting Competition. Dr. Terry Vermillion directs the university's Percussion Ensemble, which will also show its stuff this Monday. There are more than 65 students, who will be housed by local families, in the two groups.

Osowski is in his third year of directing the Worthington Chamber Singers, an ensemble that traditionally performs a December Advent concert but which also put on a well-received spring concert in 2008.

"This is a busy spring for us," confirmed Osowski. "We're involved with three concerts -- all collaborative -- including Monday's with the St. Cloud State musicians.

"It's fun for the Chamber Singers to do music other than Christmas/Advent repertoire, and I like hearing them grow as an ensemble."

In April, the Chamber Singers will travel to Fergus Falls to perform with the Fergus Falls Community Choir; each group will sing a few numbers individually and will do four combined selections. One week later, on April 26 at 2 p.m., the Fergus Falls Community Choir will be in town to perform the same concert at Worthington's Memorial Auditorium.

"It's an opportunity for both of these skilled community groups to offer their audiences more variety, and it's also very healthy for a choir to have another conductor occasionally work with them," opined Osowski.


On Monday, Chamber Singers' soprano Elizabeth Bushard and baritone Roger Lester will be featured on the folk tune "Early One Morning," while soprano Liz Berger solos on the Moses Hogan spiritual "Done Made My Vow to the Lord."

Offered Osowski, "We're excited to share our music, and hearing the St. Cloud State singers will be a treat for everyone."

The Worthington Chamber Singers and the St. Cloud State University Concert Choir and Percussion Ensemble perform 7:30 p.m. Monday at Memorial Auditorium, 714 13th St., Worthington. The concert is free and open to the public; a free-will offering will be taken. Those willing to house a St. Cloud State music student Monday night may contact Joseph Osowski at Worthington High school (507-376-6121) or via e-mail ( ).

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