The UNL Chamber Singers will perform at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 in the Sheldon Museum of Art Great Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.
The 25-member vocal ensemble provides a chamber vocal experience for singers and is under the direction of Associate Professor of Choral Music Therees Hibbard.
“We’re a small group who sings mostly a cappella pieces, and we sing classical repertoire, but we also do some really cool new things, some cutting edge things,” said Matt Heng, a junior advertising and public relations major from York, Neb., who is in his second year with the Chamber Singers. “Being a non-major, it’s a great experience to be surrounded by all these people who are so great at what they’re doing, and I just get to kind of be along for the ride.”
The Chamber Singers are celebrating some additional good news. They have been invited to perform at the Conference of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD) in Oxford, U.K., in August 2013 and will be attending with support from the Hixson-Lied Endowment, Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and the School of Music.
“I feel like I was brought here to bring the world to Nebraska because I’m definitely not a Midwest girl—though I’m learning” said Hibbard, who worked for 12 years as a choral conductor, singing tutor and senior lecturer in the London area prior to coming to UNL in 2005. “But now it’s our turn to take Nebraska to the world, or at least a little part of it.”
The Chamber Singers will likely be one of about five or six regional and international choirs at the convention, but they are the only American choir selected. In addition to performing at the convention, the Chamber Singers will have the opportunity to perform elsewhere in the area and tour London and Oxford.
“I think it will make them aware that beautiful singing and making music happen all over the place,” Hibbard said. “Love of music and love of singing is what draws people together from all over the world.”
Laura Gregoski, a senior music education major from Upland, Neb., who has been a member of the Chamber Singers since her sophomore year, is looking forward to representing the University at the Conference.
“Being selected to perform at a music conference is a great honor, and I’m very thankful that the school and the college are helping us in this endeavor,” Gregoski said. “It’s not every day that a small-town girl like me gets the opportunity to go to England.”
Their Dec. 7 program at Sheldon will include Bach’s “Magnificat,” Ysaye Barnwell’s “Wanting Memories,” as well as some other carols for the season.
“It will be a full evening with beautiful singing in a beautiful space for a really good reason,” Hibbard said.
The concert is part of a series of events at Sheldon for the Positivity Matters and the Cameron Effect partnership. Lincoln residents have been asked to set aside negativity and commit seven acts of kindness during a 12-week period between Sept. 11, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 2011 and Dec. 7, the anniversary of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in1941. The Cameron Effect is a kindness movement created to honor the memory of 21-year-old Cameron Freeman, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2010.
“These acts of kindness increase positivity and compassion,” Hibbard said. “We look at the text in a more human way and with a broad interpretation of humanity, compassion, forgiveness and humility and opening one’s self to the possibilities of goodness and kindness.”
The Chamber Singers are recognized as artists-in-residence at Sheldon and perform there twice a semester.
“It is absolutely amazing to perform in Sheldon,” Heng said. “Dr. Hibbard says the Sheldon is the extra member of our group. We like performing in other places, but when we’re in the Sheldon, we get a special sound. It’s pretty magical.”
Heng said audiences can always expect a surprise from the Chamber Singers.
“We are a traditional choir, in that you will hear Bach and Mozart and all that fun, traditional music,” he said. “But there will also be something that surprises you at every single one of our performances, and I try to get people to come for that surprise.”
Gregoski said the Chamber Singers are a diverse group of students who simply love to create music together.
“Chamber Singers is an amazing group of people who love music. Please come hear us and experience the same love of music that we have,” she said.