Wednesday, May 18, 2022

University Singers Spring Tour

This spring, Dr. Kevin Fenton and members of the University Singers returned to their annual spring tour, performing evening concerts in Sarasota, Tampa, and Orlando from April 30 - May 3. Each concert featured 2-4 high school choirs in addition to the University Singers. These choral “festivals” provided ample opportunity for interaction with high school singers during rehearsals and bonding activities, which were led by junior and senior choral music education majors. One of the highlights of each concert was the performance of an aria or art song by senior vocal performance majors.

Participating high schools included:

Venice High School (host school)
Riverview High School

Blake High School (host school)
Plant High School
Sickles High School
Freedom High School

Timber Creek High School (host school)
Boone High School
East River High School

On May 4, members of University Singers traveled to Puerto Rico. The students paid $650 for the Puerto Rico portion of the trip, which included a performance for the 30-year celebration of the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus. As a part of the event, FSU senior music education major Luis Núñez performed the solo “En mi viejo San Juan” (In my old San Juan). During the solo there were three call and response moments where Luis requested the audience’s assistance. When the audience sang in response to him, the effect was thrilling for audience and choir members alike, and many were moved to tears as Luis sang and the audience responded. By the end of the solo, the entire choir was consumed by tears and overwhelmed by the moment, and a concert that took place in a room that felt more like a lecture hall than a concert hall will be one our students will never forget.

Members of University Singers also joined the choirs of the University of Puerto Rico at Carolina and University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus and the Camerata Coral de Puerto Rico in preparation of Dan Forrest’s "Requiem for the Living" (Dr. Michael Hanawalt conducting; Jen Lamont and Conner Fabrega, featured soloists). Dr. Hanawalt did a masterful job rehearsing and conducting the combined choirs and the orchestra for a performance that lived up to Florida State University standards. At the end of the final movement, there was silence—not just lack of clapping, but absolute silence—that lasted longer than anyone could have anticipated. When the applause finally began, it erupted.

Dr. Fenton is already working with teachers and church leaders in Jacksonville, Pensacola, Ft. Walton, and Atlanta to plan the 2023 tour, which will begin with a performance for the Palms Presbyterian Church Concert Series on May 7, 2023.


Select photos from the performance at Venice High School: