U of A's Choral Arts on Full Display Here and at Major Little Rock Conference

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University of Arkansas Choral Arts are on full display this week as the Schola Cantorum and Inspirational Chorale will both be featured at a major conference in Little Rock, with professors Stephen Caldwell and Jeffrey Murdock both giving invited lectures.

But before heading to Little Rock, the two groups will present a joint preview concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3 at the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center.

The 2020 Southwest Conference of the American Choral Directors Association then kicks off Wednesday, March 4, bringing together the best choirs and conductors from Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.

The Schola Cantorum was selected for performance through a double-blind audition requiring three years worth of recordings. They will perform at the Robinson Center for the Performing Arts in Little Rock at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 5, and will sing an all-Arkansas program of music by William Grant Still, Florence Price, and a piece written by Stephen Caldwell using a poem by Geoffrey Brock, professor of creative writing.

The Inspirational Chorale received a special invitation from the SWACDA president to headline the conference's "2020: Perfect Vision" concert at historic Little Rock Central High School at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6. They will be joined by the Pambo Afrika Chorale from Nairobi, Kenya, and an honor choir comprised of Little Rock area high school students. The concert will honor the history of the Little Rock Nine, and look to build new communities in our increasingly diverse culture.

In addition to the concerts, Inspirational Chorale director Jeffrey Murdock will give a lecture on the performance practice and pedagogy of Gospel music and African American Spirituals, and Schola Cantorum director Stephen Caldwell will give a lecture about the choral music of Florence B. Price, and the choral manuscripts in the Price Archive held by UA Special Collections.

"It is unusual for a school to have two choral ensembles that can perform at this level, and exceptional that a school has two ensembles and two professors chosen to both present and perform at the same conference like this," Caldwell said. "It will be a very good week for Arkansas."


Stephen E. Caldwell, associate professor
Department of Music
479-575-3141, stephenc@uark.edu


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