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Chamber Singers showcase prize-winning music at USF

When the USF Chamber singers accepted the invitation to participate in a choral music festival in Poland they were expecting a great overseas experience. What they got was an education. Tomorrow, they will share everything they have learned with their USF audience at a season opening concert.

The Poland Tour “Welcome Back” Concert, taking place tomorrow night at 8 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall (FAH 101), will be a compilation of video, power point, audio and live music presentation.

“We hope to bring the sights and sounds we have experienced through the wonders of today’s technology,” said Richard Zielinski, the director of USF associate professor and director of choral activities.

Over the summer, the Chamber Singers traveled to Europe to perform at the 38th International Festival of Choral Song in Miedzyzdroje, Poland. The festival awards choirs in three categories; USF left the competition with awards in all of them.

After arriving in Europe over the summer, the choir took a tour of a few cities in Germany and headed to Poland.

In Szczecin, The Chamber Singers performed in the jubilee concert in memory of Jan Szyrocki, a choir director and founder of the Szczecin School of Technology Choir.

“(Szyrocki) was my mentor,” Zielinski said. “I met him at the University of Illinois in 1989 at a seminar and he introduced me to Polish music.

The jubilee was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Choir.

Unfortuantely, Szyrocki passed away last April.

While the jubilee was supposed to be a joyous occasion, Szyrocki’s death earlier in the year made it seem more like a memorial to him, Zielinski said.

“There was a lot of joy, but there was also a lot of tears,” Zielinski said.

Later, the choir traveled to Miedzyzdroje to participate in the Festival of Choral Song.

“We were competing against choirs from France, Germany, U.S., Poland. We were very honored to win all three awards (that the competition was giving out)” Zielinski said.

The Chamber Singers received the award for Sacred Music Presentation, the Golden Standard Diploma (for the highest standard of performance) and the Grand Prix of the festival.

“Very few American choirs performing classical music have the chance to compete. We are very lucky,” Zielinski said.

Following the award ceremony, Zielinski was offered to be the artistic director and chief conductor of In Terra Pax, an international choral academy.

“(In Terra Pax) is a group of singers from Germany, Poland, France, and including us also from America,” said Dan Petrie, a senior majoring in music performance and the tenor section leader of the Chamber Singers.

Tomorrow’s concert at USF will consist of the offical competition concert, including the four songs selected for judging in Miedzyzdroje.

“Next year we hope to have a collaboration with (the Szczecin Technical School) and I am hoping to bring between 150 and 200 people,” Zielinski said.

Zielinski hopes that the collaboration will strengthen the ties between USF and other schools, predominantly the Szczecin Technical School.

“For (a university as young as USF) there is a long and deep tradition of choral music here,” Zielinski said.

Zielinski says this is a chance for the USF community to show their appreciation for the choir and their support. The concert will showcase the choir’s abilities and be a perfect beginning for this season of musical events.