WWU Hosts Choral, Orchestra Festival

Northwest high school students to perform

By: Becky St. Clair

David Rayl, director of the choral program and dean for graduate studies in music at College of Music, Michigan State University in Lansing, Mich., will be a guest conductor for the festival.

Walla Walla University invites the public to attend the 2010 Choral & Orchestra Festival Concert on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 4 p.m. in the University Church.

This biennial concert, which alternates with the university’s Band Festival Concert, is a popular event featuring close to 200 high school musicians from across the northwest.  The students arrive Wednesday afternoon and spend two and a half days in intensive rehearsal and learning time.  The festival culminates in this concert on Saturday afternoon.

This year the university welcomes a special guest conductor, David Rayl, professor of music, director of the choral program and dean for graduate studies in music at College of Music, Michigan State University, in Lansing, Mich.

“I matriculated under Rayl for a couple of years and know firsthand what a high-caliber musician he is,” says Kraig Scott, professor of music at Walla Walla University and coordinator of the festival.  “He’s a fabulous conductor, a great teacher and an approachable friendly gentleman.”

Rayl will direct the choral portion of the festival while Brandon Beck, associate professor of music and director of the orchestra program at WWU, and Benjamin Gish, adjunct faculty teaching cello at WWU, work together on preparing the orchestra to accompany the choir.  WWU’s jazz ensemble, with director Michael Agidius, will also accompany the choir for one piece.

“Several years ago I observed Rayl directing a week-long high school choral festival similar to what we do here and it was a smashing success,” says Scott.  “That is exactly what we’re bringing him here to do.  I am excited for the students to have this opportunity to perform with Rayl.”

Under Rayl’s baton the MSU University Chorale has appeared at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (2007), the Central Division convention of ACDA (2006), and the national meeting of the College Music Society (2002). He has also prepared the Chorale for 5 sets of performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to his MSU appointment, Rayl served for 12 years at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Under his direction, the MU University Singers sang at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (1995), at the 27th annual Florilège Vocale in Tours, France (1998), and at Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy (2000).  Rayl’s recent appearances include his Carnegie Hall debut with Mid-America Productions leading the Beethoven Mass in C, all-state and honor choirs in Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Washington, Missouri, and Illinois, and presentations for the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Music Teachers National Association, and the Massachusetts ACDA convention.

This concert is free and open to the public.  For more information on the event, contact the Walla Walla University Music Department at 509-527-2561 or 800-541-8900, ext. 2561.

List of schools participating in the 2010 Choral and Orchestra Festival:

Auburn Adventist Academy – Auburn, Wash.
Cascade Christian Academy – Wenatchee, Wash.
Columbia Adventist Academy – Battle Ground, Wash.
Emerald Christian Academy – Pleasant Hill, Ore.
Gem State Academy – Caldwell, Idaho
Livingstone Adventist Academy – Salem, Ore.
Milo Adventist Academy – Days Creek, Ore.
Mt. Ellis Academy – Bozeman, Mont.
Portland Adventist Academy – Portland, Ore.
Rogue Valley Adventist Academy – Medford, Ore.
Skagit Adventist School – Burlington, Wash.
Upper Columbia Academy – Spangle, Wash.
Walla Walla Valley Academy – College Place, Wash.
Yakima Adventist Christian School – Yakima, Wash.

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