Peru, Nebraska - The Peru State Choral Department will present its fall concert on Thursday, October 12, at 6:00 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. Dr. Jake Bartlett, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music, will direct the performance. Barb Jones will be the accompanist. Admission to the event is free. 

The Fall Concert will provide an eclectic mix of music featuring the concert choir, women’s choir, and vocal solos. Some of the musical selections performed will include:

·       A bombastic opera chorus by Jacques Offenbach. 

·       A popular Spanish tune that will be familiar to most.

·       The incredibly beautiful “Irish Blessing” and whimsical “I’ll Tell My Ma” (featuring violinist Lacey Overstreet). 

·       “Sam Was a Man,” a poetic eulogy written by E.E. Cummings, performed as a four-part octave duet.

·       The haunting sounds of the season with “The Dream Keeper” by Rollo Dilworth, “Fire” by Katrina Gimon, and Casper Christiansen’s “October Twilight.”

“We are performing some very challenging music,” said Bartlett, “and the students have not only learned the music to a high level, but they have embraced the challenges with open arms.”

A highlight of the Fall Concert will be the premier of an Alma Mater called Shadows, originally composed for the band by the late Director of Bands, Dr. David Edris. Bartlett arranged the piece for voice, and the song will be accompanied by violin for its premiere. 

This year will also bring a new format to choral concerts. Choirs will sing smaller portions of the concert several times, and auditioned vocal solos will also be performed. In addition, each concert will start with the National Anthem and the Alma Mater and end with the Color Song. Audience members will be invited to stand as they are able and sing along near the beginning of each concert. 

The choral ensembles at Peru State are larger this fall. Approximately thirty-five Concert Choir members will be on stage and the Women’s Choir will have twenty members. The increase in vocalists stems from a musically involved first-year class coupled with recruiting efforts from faculty members throughout the summer encouraging students to participate in the choral program. 

Those who choose to participate in choir develop a strong camaraderie, according to Bartlett. 

“I think, above all else, our choirs are tight-knit communities within our collective student body,” said Bartlett. “They support each other, are kind to each other, and share a bond that, hopefully, other students will see and want to join.” 

Choir members hail from Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma and represent all majors, not just music. Most singers are non-music majors. Community members are also encouraged to join the choir to sing in the annual holiday concert. 

“We are building something truly special for both Peru State College, southeast Nebraska, and each of the four corner states,” said Bartlett. “There is a seat for every person who wants to join, and we welcome anyone interested.” 

The Fall Concert will be live-streamed on Facebook for those who cannot attend in person. To view it online, search for the Peru State Choirs page on Facebook and “like” the page. The link for the concert will be posted on the evening of October 12.

Anyone interested in joining the choir for the holiday season may reach out to Bartlett at jbartlett@peru.edu for more information.

Nestled in the hills of historic southeast Nebraska, Peru State College offers a mix of innovative online and traditional classroom undergraduate and graduate programs, including online graduate degrees in education and organizational management.

Established in 1867 as Nebraska’s first college, Peru State has transformed over the past century and a half into a state-of-the-art institution offering diverse, multifaceted educational programs annually to nearly two thousand students.