• December 9, 2019

UTPB choir caroling to raise funds to travel to festival - Odessa American: UTPB

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UTPB choir caroling to raise funds to travel to festival

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Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 5:34 pm

The University of Texas Permian Basin’s large concert choir is on its way to Mexico this spring to perform in Festival Internacional de Coros “Voces Por la Paz” in Monterey, Mexico.

The festival is April 2 through April 5. Director of Choral Activities Frank Eychaner said the roughly 45-member group will be one of 20 groups. About half of those will be from Mexico and the other half from other countries in the Americas. He added that he has a colleague at University of Nebraska at Kearney who is planning to go.

“Then there’s always a number of international groups that come from Central and South America. So for example at the festival that I just returned from where I was teaching, there were choirs from Mexico, the United States, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador,” all over Mexico, Chile and Argentina, Eychaner said.

The choir received the invitation to the festival because of their “many outstanding performances at the Tlaxcala Canta in November last year in Tlaxcala, Mexico,” Eychaner said in an email.

The cost of the festival is $150 per student, which pays for lodging, meals and transportation to venues during the festival. The only additional cost is getting the students to Monterey, Eychaner said.

To help raise funds, the choir is offering performances for civic organizations, corporate parties, parties in people’s homes and other occasions.

Eychaner said there are three levels: A quartet for $250; an octet for $500; and a large group for $1,000.

“In the past we’ve sung for holiday parties for organizations, corporations, businesses. We’ve sung a little bit of everywhere …,” Eychaner said.

Eychaner noted that the vocal program has grown exponentially since he arrived in 2014.

“There are four choirs at the university now, whereas there was one when I arrived in 2014. We’ve done some advertising, put some things out in the newspaper. We sent some flyers and mailers, but we want to remind people that we are available to come be a part of their event. We sing what people would think of as traditional Christmas carols and then we also sing really creative arrangements of carols that just sound great,” he said.

The choir can perform anytime between now and Dec. 24.

Eychaner said the chance to perform at the festival is enriching for students.

“It’s also a very non-controversial way for us to have cross-cultural understanding and empathy in an apolitical environment, which I think is important. It’s easier for us to understand the perspectives and interests of other cultures and other peoples when we can go and learn about their art and their culture and what makes them tick. The title of the festival I think is important ‘Voces Por La Paz,’ ‘Voices for Peace,’” he said.

Odessa, TX

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