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ASU choral season celebrates joyful music-making through song


Collage of photos of students singing in choirs.

Jace Kaholokula Saplan, director of choral activities, said the seven ASU choral ensembles — Concert Choir, Barrett Symphonic Choir, Canticum Bassum, Sol Singers, Gospel Choir, Choral Union and the new Graduate Recital Choir — provide opportunities for all interested singers, from community members to students of any major or skill set.

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September 18, 2023

This fall, the Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre welcomes a new choral director and a 2023–24 season that celebrates the joy of singing in community. 

“Our work this year centers on abundance,” said Jace Kaholokula Saplan, associate professor and director of choral activities. “As our choral program evolves to reflect the diverse tapestry of our students and our local, national and global communities, it is crucial in our program's growth to show that the music of the entire world must catalyze the artistry of our students.”

Saplan said the choral program strives to cultivate globally empathetic artists and wants students to know that singing in the ASU choirs means they are worthy of abundance.

“Our charge is to share the abundance of the world's repertoire with our community,” Saplan said. “Our program's growth and development means engaging with cultures and perspectives within and outside of their perspectives.”

This year’s season highlights community concerts, collaboration with other schools and community choirs, and repertoire that encompasses a diverse tapestry of works and awakens new beginnings.

For the fall semester, Saplan said the choirs are excited to host and perform with the Phoenix Chorale and the University of Redlands' Vocal Chamber Music Program on Oct. 12, along with composer Dale Trumbore. Students from the ASU Concert Choir will be sharing music from New Zealand, Japan and Estonia, and they will be singing with the Phoenix Chorale under the direction of Christopher Gabbitas. Another season highlight, they said, features the ASU Concert Choir performing "The Sacred Veil" on Nov. 15, a beautiful and heart-wrenching work by Eric Whitacre and Toni Silverstri. The concert also features violinist and composer Daniel Roumain, Herberger Institute Professor, along with dance and film compiled by students from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

The acclaimed Westminster Chorus joins the Canticum Bassum singing music for tenor/bass voices on Oct. 13. Duruflé’s famous "Requiem" with woven interpolations of modern dance, spoken word and visual projections spotlighting Stephanie Weiss, associate professor, is presented on March 21, 2024. The season culminates with an event for all choirs at ASU Gammage on April 17, 2024.     

This season welcomes new faculty member Joshua Palkki, assistant professor of music learning and teaching and choral conducting, and associate director of choral activities, who conducts the Barrett Symphonic Choir. 

Saplan said the seven choral ensembles — Concert Choir, Barrett Symphonic Choir, Canticum Bassum, Sol Singers, Gospel Choir, Choral Union and the new Graduate Recital Choir — provide opportunities for all interested singers, from community members to students of any major or skill set. 

Each semester, nearly 300 students and 100 community members participate in ASU choirs.

“Our season reflects the direction of our program,” Saplan said. “As we honor the work and vision of my predecessor, Professor Emeritus David Schildkret, we hope to ensure that our choral program is rooted in our community, actively supports and engages with other choral programs throughout our state, models culturally responsive and global practices of communal vocal music for all collaborators, and roots ourselves in joyful music-making. Cantamos con Alegria!” 

For ASU Gammage ticketed events, tickets are available for $12 in person at the ASU Gammage box office and online at Ticketmaster (fees apply). For ticketed events in the Music Building, tickets are available for $12, online only, at the Herberger Institute Box Office. Free admission for ASU students with ID at any venue. Herberger Institute faculty and staff are eligible for complimentary tickets through the ASU Gammage box office.

Choral Season 2023–24

Sept. 13
Rebirth: Sol Singers, Canticum Bassum and Choral Union
7:30 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

Sept. 18 
Louis Vierne’s "Messe Solennelle"
Graduate Recital Choir
8 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

Oct. 12
Woven: ASU Concert Choir, The Phoenix Chorale and The University of Redlands Vocal Chamber Music Program
7:30 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

Oct. 13
Tenor/Bass Extravaganza!
Canticum Bassum and the Westminster Chorus
7 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

Oct. 19 
Together: The Barrett Symphonic Choir and ASU Gospel Choir
7:30 p.m., Dayspring United Methodist Church, Tempe

Oct. 30
Igor Stravinky’s "Symphony of Psalms"
Graduate Recital Choir
8 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

Nov. 6
Singing the New Year: All ASU Choirs
7:30 p.m., ASU Gammage

Nov. 15
Eric Whitacre’s “The Sacred Veil”
Concert Choir
7:30 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

Nov. 27
Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Serenade to Music"
Benjamin Britten’s "Rejoice in the Lamb"
Graduate Recital Choir
8 p.m., Organ Hall

Feb. 12
Graduate Conducting Recital
Graduate Recital Choir
8 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

Feb. 14
On The Voice: Sol Singers, Canticum Bassum and Barrett Symphonic Choir
7:30 p.m., Evelyn Smith Music Theatre

March 13
In Community: Gospel Choir and Choral Union
7:30 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

March 21
Duruflé’s "Requiem": The ASU Concert Choir
Soloist: Stephanie Weiss
7:30 p.m., Organ Hall

March 25
Graduate Conducting Recital
Graduate Recital Choir
8 p.m., Katzin Concert Hall

April 17
Singing the Year: ASU Choral Ensembles
7:30 p.m., ASU Gammage

April 22
Graduate Conducting Recital
Graduate Recital Choir
8 p.m., Organ Hall

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