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Mike Emery
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UH Chorale Headed to Noted U.K. FestivalMoores Singers Invited to Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

April 23, 2009 - Houston - The University of Houston Moores School of Music Concert Chorale's rich harmonies and vibrant performances have thrilled audiences in Texas and around the nation. Now, the group is making the leap across the pond to make its debut in one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious choral festivals.

This July, the chorale will make its debut at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, a six-day festival of song and dance held annually in the Welsh town of Llangollen. Each year, the world's top singers are selected to perform and compete at this celebrated event. This year's event runs July 6 - 12.

In addition to competing in four categories, the Moores Chorale, consisting of 36 students and alumni, will participate in the Llangollen Peace Concert, which assembles representatives from all of the competing choirs for a flag parade and performance. The Peace Concert will also feature 10 choirs, each representing their region of the world. The Moores Chorale was chosen to represent the United States.

"Llangollen will give us a chance to represent UH and the Moores School of Music on a world stage," said Betsy Cook Weber, director of the Moores Chorale. "In July, when the world's greatest choirs compete in Llangollen, UH will be among them. Our very presence will demonstrate that we are a member of a very select club."

At Llangollen, the chorale will participate in four competitions: Youth Choir (under the age of 25) on July 9, Mixed Choir on July 10, Chamber Choir on July 10 and Folk Song Choir on July 10. Should the chorale place first in the Mixed Choir or Chamber choir categories, it will have the opportunity to compete for the Choir of the World: Pavarotti Trophy on July 11. Ten individual members of the chorale have also been selected to compete in separate solo competitions.

This international singing summit will indeed be a first for the university's chorale, but the student vocalists remain undaunted as they will be judged against thousands of competing groups.

"We have performed in front of many important people and at other noted competitions," said Moores Chorale bass section leader Maxim Bitner. "This is the first time, however, our group has traveled internationally to perform. We know what we have to do when we get there, so we'll be focused and take charge."

During the festival, the student vocalists will stay with host families who reside in the town of Llangollen. Travel fees have been aided by donations from Continental Airlines, Charles and Bette Saunders, Margaret Alkek Williams, Jim and Helen Shaffer, Martha Palmer, and Steve and Joella Mach

The Moores Concert Chorale is UH's premiere large choral ensemble consisting of mainly junior and senior music majors. Led by Weber, the chorale has been invited to perform before members of the Texas Music Educators Association in San Antonio in 2005 and 2008. In 2007, the group was the invited choir to perform at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association in Miami.

"The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has been described as a ‘means for the world's nations to meet and compete through music,'" said David Ashley White, director of the Moores School of Music. "It is an honor for our Moores Concert Chorale to be invited to participate. Under Dr. Weber's leadership, the chorale has consistently made huge strides, and its members are great students who give so much to UH through their hard work and dedication."

Since 1947, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod has attracted the world's most gifted vocalists and dancers for a week of music. By day, choirs participate in competitions, and during the evening, spectacular concerts featuring professional artists - many of whom began their careers at this very festival - take center stage. Star alumni of Llangollen include Luciano Pavarotti, who competed with his father at the event in 1955, and Placido Domingo, who made his professional debut in the United Kingdom there. This year's star performers include acclaimed vocalist Sir Willard White, West End actress/singer Barbara Dickson, classical vocal quartet Blake and opera star Natasha Marsh.

MSM is one of the premier music schools in America. Offering bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, it serves approximately 600 students annually. Areas of study include composition, conducting, performance, theory and musicology. Its faculty consists of internationally recognized performers, composers and scholars. Among its ensembles are the Moores School Symphony Orchestra, Moores Jazz Ensemble, Moores Opera Center, Concert Chorale, Concert Women's Chorus, Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band, Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble. A majority of the school's concerts are performed in the 800-seat Moores Opera House. For more details on the Moores School of Music, visit http://www.music.uh.edu/.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston, Texas' premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.

For more information about UH, visit the university's Newsroom at www.uh.edu/newsroom.