ISU Headlines

Women’s Choir Festival slated for Jensen Grand Concert Hall March 9

Posted March 5, 2007

Song will fill the L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center when Idaho State University presents its fourth Women’s Choir Festival Friday, March 9.Kathleen Lane

The daylong festival culminates in a 7 p.m. public performance by some 250 singers in the Joseph C. and Cheryl H. Jensen Grand Concert Hall. Admission is $5 for the general public, $3 for ISU faculty and staff, and free to ISU students with valid Bengal cards.

The department of music will host choirs from Century, Hillcrest, Blackfoot and Middleton high schools, featuring guest conductor Dr. David Cody of the University of Montana in his third appearance at the festival.

Cody will share the baton with festival director Kathleen A. Lane, founder and conductor of the 45-voice ISU Women’s Choir.

“We’re especially pleased this year to be part of the Women’s History Month calendar, and sponsored by the Anderson Gender Center here on campus,” Lane said. “As we specialize in music written for women’s voices, and feature women composers, the ISU Women’s Choir is now an approved class for the Women’s Studies Program.”

Since its inception, the festival has also received support from the US Bank Rural Arts Series, Lane added.

“We’re not the only beneficiaries of US Bank’s generosity,” Lane said. “For years, this series has been helping visual and performing artists reach out to children in underserved rural communities. Farsighted business leaders realize that a dynamic community can’t afford to treat the arts as just a luxury for city kids.”

Lane and Cody will rehearse and perform the participating choirs in works by Javier Busto, Gustav Holst, Heinrich Schuetz and Eleanor Daley.

“Each guest choir also will be featured in its own selection,” Lane said.  “It’s a thrilling opportunity for high-school musicians who probably never have had a chance to sing in a fabulous hall like the Jensen Grand.”

As host group, the ISU Women’s Choir will present a short program featuring a suite of Shaker hymns and a four-part setting of the “Twenty-third Psalm” by Franz Schubert.

An assistant professor at the University of Montana, Cody teaches voice and opera history, as well as conducting the Women’s Chorus and co-directing the UM Opera Theater.

He is active throughout the Intermountain West as a tenor soloist, stage director, conductor, voice teacher and clinician.In addition to leading the ISU Women’s Chorus, Lane serves as the music department’s vocal coordinator and as general director of Opera ISU. She appears frequently throughout the region as a mezzo-soprano soloist and choral-vocal clinician.Festival accompanist Camille Blackburn has spent 15 years as choral director at Hillcrest High School. An established performer and director in southeast Idaho, she appears as principal keyboard player with the Idaho Falls Symphony. Active as an accompanist and adjudicator throughout the Northwest, Blackburn has served as adjunct professor of voice at BYU-Idaho and ISU, and maintains a busy private vocal studio.