Laredo Philharmonic Chorale becomes TAMIU Philharmonic Chorale

Laredo Philharmonic Chorale
becomes TAMIU Philharmonic Chorale

For the past 25 years, the Laredo Philharmonic Chorale (LPC) has operated as an independent organization and in its long history performed in New York City's Carnegie Hall, with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Monterrey in Nuevo León, México, and with the Laredo Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO). It may now add Texas A&M International University, not only to its list of collaborators, but also as its new permanent home.

"In August 2005, TAMIU and the LPC signed a collaborative agreement which is similar in scope to that agreed with the LPO. TAMIU now provides administrative, publicity and fund-raising support to the LPC as well as providing a conductor and the use of facilities. In return, the LPC becomes the major choir on campus available to the University as needed and enhancing the choral program," explained Brendan Townsend, LPO and LPC director.

"The agreement was drawn last year and we have been here at TAMIU for a year and loving it," exclaimed Gloria Flores, last year's LPC president, who brokered the deal with TAMIU.

"It gives us a permanent home, an umbrella, that shelters us and allows us to grow along with the University. It provides us a director and all the expert guidance of the fine and performing arts department and its chair, Dr. Frank Grzych. It attracts newer and younger student voices that are presently studying at TAMIU as members. We are extremely delighted to be invited to the different musical programs and allow us to share their limelight. It is simply a win-win situation," Flores said.

The LPC and the TAMIU Chorale will be one group, known as the TAMIU Philharmonic Chorale, but there will be times when they separate into two as well. The smaller TAMIU group will be used as a Chamber-type choir focusing on early music for specific pieces on the programs.

"This will expand the horizons and performance capabilities of both organizations and offer a rich educational and performance experience for our students and give area singers a chance to receive college credit," said Dr. Grzych.

"Another advantage is that non-music students who are looking for a fine arts credit (elective) can join this class without having had prior vocal training. Although that was always the case, it was somewhat intimidating for non-music students to sing alongside music students, who are already studying voice, in a small vocal ensemble," advised Townsend.

TAMIU students' choral experience will improve by having the opportunity to sing as part of a large choir that tackles significantly different type music than a smaller group. The students, many of whom will be preparing to become choir directors in the future, will learn the large choral repertoire by singing in a group that not only performs a cappella, but also regularly sings in LPO performances.

LPC members may register for college credit, but it's not required. Nor is previous singing or music reading experience required. However, Townsend said new members must meet with him so he may assess correct placement in sections - soprano, alto, tenor or bass.

Members must also pay a membership fee of $60, $20 for international members and $10 for students and arrange for custom-made dresses. Members may also choose to purchase their own copies of music scores.

To register, go to uonline.tamiu.edu. Fall 2006 classes begin Monday, Aug. 28. Late registration, with fees applied, will continue through Sept. 10.

For more information, please contact Townsend at 326.3049, e-mail btownsend@tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, room 216C.

University office hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday - Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu