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Live at Carnegie Hall!

Steven Sametz, in his 35th year as director of Lehigh Choral Arts, has gained renown for his composing as well as his conducting.

When members of the Lehigh community gather in New York City next fall to watch Lehigh take on Lafayette in Yankee Stadium, they’ll be treated to more than the 150th meeting of the nation’s most frequently played college football rivalry.

On Friday, Nov. 21, 2014, the night before the Big Game, the singers who make up Lehigh University Choral Arts will perform at one of America’s most prestigious concert venues—New York City’s Carnegie Hall.

Accompanied by a full orchestra, Choral Arts will present Carmina amoris, a choral symphony composed by Steven Sametz, the Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music and director of Choral Arts. The nearly 300 singers and players will be directed by Sametz.

The invitation to perform at Carnegie Hall, a National Historic Landmark noted for its Italian Renaissance architecture and unrivaled acoustics, shines a light on Lehigh’s rich cultural and artistic traditions, says Sametz.

“When we take stage, we will show ourselves, in important ways, to be what we always are: singers coming together from all walks of life, all majors in the university, at levels from beginners on up, engaged in the common pursuit of making music at the highest level possible,” says Sametz, who is now in his 35th year at Lehigh.

“Lehigh is not a music conservatory; our population is not professional musicians. We are amateur in the true sense of ‘those who love’ what they do, yet we always strive for the highest professional level of performance. This is a chance for us to showcase how far the Choral Arts program has come at one of the finest halls in the world,” he says.

“Like going to the Olympics”

Choral Arts comprises four ensembles. The 160-voice Choral Union, which was founded by Sametz and is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, is a “town and gown” ensemble that draws area residents, students, faculty and staff. The University Choir, a 60-member mixed student group, has toured extensively, performing in Germany, France, Russia, the Czech Republic and East Asia. Dolce, a 22-member women’s ensemble, and the historic men’s Glee Club, are also student groups.

The Carnegie Hall performance will be an important milestone for the Choral Arts. Choral singing, beginning with the Glee Club, Lehigh’s first organized singing group, has been one of Lehigh’s long-standing traditions and will celebrate its 145th year in 2014.

“Singing at Carnegie Hall is like going to the Olympics: It is the highest-level achievement in that realm,” says Sarah Dudney ‘17, who came to Lehigh as part of the Cutler-Sametz Choral Arts Scholar program, and who performed at Carnegie Hall when she was in high school.

“This is such an honor and accomplishment for Lehigh University Choral Arts, and it is even more special that it is happening at such an incredible time in the school’s history,” Dudney says, adding that the exposure may help attract singers from all over the country to Lehigh’s arts scene.

The exclusive engagement is being presented by Distinguished Concerts International New York. More information can be found on their website.

A full roster of NYC events

The 150th Lehigh-Lafayette football game will be played Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014. Ticket sales for the game quickly surpassed 30,000 last month, demonstrating an interest in the game—and in the lively arts and entertainment scene that only New York City can offer.

With the city as its backdrop, the Lehigh community will host a number of festive events throughout the weekend. It begins on Thursday, Nov. 20, when representatives from the Lehigh and Lafayette communities will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. The symbolic gesture serves two purposes: the formal closing of the day’s trading session and the official launch of Rivalry Weekend.

Five miles north in Times Square, both colleges will host a welcome reception that evening. For the Lehigh faithful, that celebration will usher in a crowded itinerary of weekend activities. Rivalry Weekend also features walking tours of unique New York City landmarks, a behind-the-scenes tour of the United Nations, a performance workshop and several “leadership dialogs”—in-depth discussions of timely topics led by Lehigh faculty and alumni.

Registration for the weekend’s activities opens May 1. Updates will be posted periodically.
 

Story by Tom Yencho

Posted on Wednesday, December 04, 2013

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