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Spring Break Music Tour

North Park University Gospel Choir

During four days in Minnesota, ensembles share music, faith, and education

CHICAGO, IL (April 5, 2011) — North Park University’s Gospel Choir Touring Ensemble teamed up with the University Jazz Ensemble for a whirlwind four-day tour of Minnesota March 11-14 which ignited joyous and enthusiastic response at every stop.

Last on tour together some fifteen years ago, the ensembles are now directed by Stephen Kelly, Helen Hudgens, and Joseph Lill. For this tour, they planned evenings that are best described as celebratory worship experiences. The 60 students in the ensembles sang and played at the Rochester, Plymouth, and Excelsior Covenant Churches on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, respectively. On Sunday morning the groups participated in two worship services at Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis, and on Monday morning they visited music classes at Minnehaha Academy, before heading back to Chicago for the remainder of the University's spring break.

Prof. Lill commented that a Google search showed that Dr. Helen Hudgens is perhaps the only professor of music composition in the country who also directs a gospel choir. Hudgens offered helpful background insight and perspective for the music which shed light on specific songs and styles. Stephen Kelly, who also serves as worship coordinator in University Ministries, elicited intense and passionate music that came from the heart. Throughout, students were featured as soloists, and several were called upon to speak briefly out of their personal spiritual journeys. Student comments indicated that the tour was as powerful an experience for them as it was for those who attended.

The Gospel Choir Touring Ensemble will next be on the road in Michigan, October 21-23, 2011; and the University Choir, under the direction of Prof. Julia Davids, will be tour in the spring of 2012. Chicago residents can regularly hear all of the School of Music's ensembles live in concert; see our music calendar for upcoming events.

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