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‘The Passion’ comes to life April 30

Bach’s immortal masterpiece, St. Matthew Passion, will be the final concert of a series of anniversary performances celebrating Steven Sametz’s 25 years at Lehigh, the Choral Union’s 20th Anniversary Season, and the 130th year of choral music at Lehigh. The concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2005 in Baker Hall, Zoellner Arts Center. Patrons are invited to attend a free pre-show lecture at 7 p.m. in Room 143 with members of the choral arts.

The Passion will come to life in Baker Hall in a semi-staged version with supertitles. The set design is by Drew Francis, professor in the department of theater at Lehigh, videography is by Anna and Michael Chupa and the choreography is by Philadelphia’s Myra Bazell. Grammy Award-winning tenor Richard Clement will play the role of the Evangelist. The Princeton Singers and a baroque orchestra will join the Lehigh University Choral Arts on stage.

The choral tradition at Lehigh University dates back to 1875 when undergraduates formed a Mandolin and Singing Club. Since that time, there has been an unbroken growth of singing at Lehigh. Sametz, celebrating 25 years at Lehigh, is the fifth director of choral activities in Lehigh's century of choral singing, having joined the faculty in 1979.

The Lehigh University Choir today is an active force in campus life. The 50 students of mixed voices, drawn from all majors at the university, audition at the beginning of the academic year. During the year, they give three major concerts on campus and tour internationally.

The Lehigh University Choral Union, celebrating its twenty-year anniversary, is composed of students, faculty, staff, and Lehigh Valley community members. Performing three times a year with internationally known soloists and full symphony orchestra, the 200 singers of the Choral Union bring major works of the choral-orchestral repertoire to a broad audience.

Steven Sametz, Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music, has earned increasing renown in recent years as both composer and conductor. He is the Director of Choral Activities at Lehigh University and also serves as artistic director of the elite a cappella ensemble, The Princeton Singers. Recent guest conducting appearances include the Taipei Philharmonic Foundation, the Berkshire Choral Festival, the New York Chamber Symphony, and the Netherlands Radio Choir. Sametz’s compositions have been heard throughout the world at the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Schleswig-Holstein, Santa Fe, and Salzburg music festivals. His in time of appears on the recent Grammy award-winning CD by Chanticleer, “Colors of Love,” and his works may be heard on six other Chanticleer CDs, as well as Lehigh University Choir's “Live from Taipei,” Lehigh University Choral Arts “Christmas at Lehigh,” The Princeton Singers’ “Reincarnations,” and “Christmas with The Princeton Singers.”

Grammy-winning American lyric tenor Richard Clement has performed with most of America's major orchestras and music directors, bringing tonal beauty and superb musicality to repertoire from the baroque to the contemporary. Of particular distinction in recent seasons are performances of Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht and Second Symphony with Kurt Masur and the Israel Philharmonic.

Ten years of directing theater, choreographing her own work, and free-lancing as a choreographer for major opera companies, music videos, and musical theater, has taken Myra Bazell throughout East and West Europe, South America, the Middle East and Russia. She draws from a diverse and extensive background in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Flamenco and street dance of an Afro-Latino base.

The Princeton Singers rank among the elite of the nation’s a cappella ensembles. They have performed and recorded with Chanticleer and The American Boychoir and were heard recently at both the American Choral Directors Association and the American Guild of Organists conventions.

Tickets are available for $18 for the Saturday, April 30 concert at 8 p.m. All students and children: $5. Discounts are available. For reservations, please call Zoellner Ticket Services at 610-758-2787 (7LU-ARTS) or order online.

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005

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