NMU, MTU Choirs Present Joint Concerts

Music for a Sacred Space graphic

Northern Michigan University and Michigan Technological University choral groups will present a joint concert titled Music for a Sacred Space in each of their respective locales: at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden; and at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22 in St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette.

Erin Colwitz directs the NMU Arts Chorale and University Choir. Jared Anderson directs conScience: Michigan Tech Chamber Singers and Michigan Tech Concert Choir. While admission to the concert is free of charge, free-will donations to benefit St. Vincent de Paul chapters local to both universities will be accepted at the door.

The performances will commence with a brief Haydn Mass, followed by a showcase of soloist students from both universities. Choirs from Northern and Tech will then combine together for a setting of “Nunc dimittis” by Gustav Holst and a movement from Rachmaninov's All Night Vigil. The stagings will highlight the works of living composers including David Lang and Michael Engelhardt, alongside past composers such as Cristóbal de Morales, Felix Mendelssohn and Nathaniel R. Dett.

“It's always a thrill to sing with other ensembles,” reported Colwitz, “Students have the opportunity to connect and network with students from another institution, no doubt making new friends of a similar age who have similar interests. Singing communally in venerated spaces can be a motivating and moving experience. St. Joseph Catholic Church and St. Peter Cathedral require that any music sung within their consecrated halls be sacred. Thankfully, choral music has a broad reservoir of religious tomes to draw from; it was not a challenge for us to find gorgeous music from various time periods to fit the occasion.”

This collaboration stemmed from the longstanding friendship between Colwitz and Anderson. The two sang together professionally in a GRAMMY-nominated chorus known as the Dale Warland Singers, each joining the group in 1999. During their time in the chorus, Colwitz and Anderson recorded albums, toured together and became fast friends.

After moving to Michigan in 2015, Anderson invited Colwitz to join the Michigan board of the American Choir Directors Association, of which he was the president at the time. The pair have been devoted colleagues ever since. The Music for a Sacred Space project marks their first collaboration since 2016, and has been a topic of discussion for many years.

Both directors assert that the collaboration will benefit all students involved, and that both Northern's and Tech's music programs contribute significantly to the arts, offering unmatched opportunities for their students.

Prepared By

Ashley Kluting
Student Writer