Concert Choir Taking the Stage with Orlando Philharmonic Ahead of U.S. Tour

The choir will finally showcase its repertoire around the United States, after rehearsing four times a week throughout the 2023-2024 academic year.

For most Stetson students, finals and graduation represent the pinnacle of the school year. But for Stetson’s Concert Choir, May 11 — the second day of commencement ceremonies — kicks off a whirlwind of performances that begin at Steinmetz Hall and conclude in New York City.

The choir, a 54-member ensemble of upperclass students, will share the stage May 11-12 at Steinmetz Hall with the University of Central Florida Chorus and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

They will sing Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus” and Faure’s “Pavane” under the direction of orchestra Maestro Eric Jacobsen. Other pieces on the program will include Hindemith’s “Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber,” Mahler’s “Ruckert Lieder” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 5” with its trademark four-note introduction of “da-da-da-dum.”

“We are thrilled to be joined by the University of Central Florida Chorus and Stetson University Concert Choir,” said Karina Bharne, Orlando Philharmonic’s executive director. “These talented musicians are the perfect complement to our program, and I am looking forward to have them breathe new life into both Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ and Faure’s ‘Pavane. We look forward to many more years of collaborations with these two ensembles and important community partners.”

Timothy Peter, DMA

Timothy Peter, DMA, Stetson professor of music and concert choir director, is excited for his students to sing under UCF’s choir director, Jeffery Redding, PhD, as well as under the baton of Eric Jacobsen, UCF’s orchestral conductor.

“Any time we can collaborate with professional musicians such as the Orlando Philharmonic, it elevates all of us, and it teaches life skills for our students to prepare for the professional world,” Peter said. “Those things are nice both for the resumé and for practical experience after they leave Stetson.”

Peter is also excited for his students to sing again in Steinmetz Hall — known as one of the world’s most acoustically perfect performance venues.

“We’re so grateful to get this opportunity to do this beautiful music in such a marvelous acoustic and aesthetic,” Peter said.

The collaboration with UCF also offers another perk to the experience.

“It’s great to get our university students together,” Peter said. “Some of these students know each other, they went to high school together.”

Jeffery Redding, PhD

“The UCF Singing Knights are delighted to build upon its long and successful partnership with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra for the upcoming Orlando Philharmonic Classics 6 Concert,” Redding said. “This year’s performance marks a thrilling development, as the UCF Singing Knights are excited to combine their talents with the Stetson University Choir, forming a combined vocal ensemble that promises a truly unforgettable musical experience.”

From Steinmetz Hall Across the United States

Two days after its second performance at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, the Concert Choir will launch a six-day United States tour with performances in Minneapolis; Iowa City, Iowa; Chicago; Louisville, Ky.; Baltimore; and, New York City.

Stetson’s Concert Choir Spring 2024 Tour begins March 22.

The concerts will feature a variety of world music that includes a song sung in Creole, the dialect of Haiti, and a song sung in Zulu, a South African language.

“It’s a marvelous world music theme to bridge our global understanding,” Peter said. “The focus is really how music across our globe can inform us as world citizens.”

The repertoire, selected by Peter, reflects the by-audition group’s 2023-24 theme of “Possibilities.” For Peter, that has meant an emphasis on building community given that in teaching the Haitian song, “Twa Tanbou,” he not only introduced the Haitian language but also brought in Haitian students to discuss the culture, food and traditions of the struggling nation.

Peter aims to “draw students into what’s going on around us, so that we don’t remain in the university bubble. We work very hard to keep things relevant, and we use music as a tool to do that.”

Bob Dylan’s 1964 classic “The Times They Are A-Changin'” — though an unusual addition at first glance — mirrors that mission.

“I think it’s an opportunity for young people,” Peter said. “It’s an opportunity to reflect and see they have a role to shape the future of our planet and our current culture, and help decide what kind of world we want to develop.”

Though the tour schedule is rigorous, Peter and his singers are ready to see the fruit of their efforts — four rehearsals every week throughout the school year.

“This year, the repertoire is very advanced, and I’m looking forward to how we’re going to celebrate that with the Orlando Philharmonic and then across the United States on our national tour,” he said.

For tickets or more information about the May 11 or 12 concerts at Steinmetz Hall, click here. For more information about the tour, click here.

-Cheri Henderson