Denison's Gospel Choir Departs For Concert Tour In Portugal
Posted: February 25, 2002
The Denison University Gospel Choir will depart on a 10-day concert tour to Portugal on Friday (March 8). An open rehearsal at 7 p.m. on Wednesday (March 6) in Burke Hall will give area residents an opportunity to hear the works that the choir will perform on the tour. Conducted by Raymond Wise, the Choir will give four concerts during their stay in the province of Madeira. Concert venues in Funchal and Ribeira Brava include a cathedral, high school and city auditorium.
The Choir had its genesis in the early 1980s when Wise was a Denison student. Following his graduation, the choir disbanded but was reactivated in Jan. 2000 with 26 members. It now has grown to more than 115 members. The tour choir of 40 singers will consist of approximately 25 Denison students, plus supplemental members from the Raise Mass Choir conducted by Wise in Columbus.
The repertoire of the choir consists of spirituals, traditional and contemporary gospel and most recently, classical gospels written during this year by composer Leslie Burrs. Although its historical roots lie in the lives of African American people, gospel music, over time, has crossed racial, cultural, ethnic and religious lines.
On the tour, Wise is planning to use two Latin works, "O Bone Jesu" by Palestrina and "Cantate Domino" by Pitouri/Greyson, as well as works in German, Italian, Portuguese, and Swahili to appeal to the European audience in this resort location. Wise also has written a special work for the choir in Portuguese titled "Just Come To Me." Several other works composed by Wise - "We're All in the Family of God," "I've Got a Robe," and "When Will They Learn To Love One Another" - have been selected for their messages in this post Sept. 11 time.
Wise is a 1983 graduate of Denison and is the founder and president of Raise Productions, a gospel music production company in Columbus. He has performed for the Baltimore Opera Company and was master choir director for the world premiere ofVanqui,composed by Burrs for Opera Columbus. Wise has directed over 30 choirs, recorded 16 albums, and performed with a number of orchestras, dance companies and professional recording groups. He is currently working on his doctoral degree in music education at Ohio State.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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