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PSU vocalists to sing at Carnegie Hall

More than 100 years after its construction in 1880, the Andrew Carnegie Hall is still synonymous with success for many musicians in the world.

On June 8, 15 Portland State University students will reach this pinnacle in their signing career when they perform at the historic New York site.

PSU professor Bruce Browne will be amongst these choral students as he conducts them along with a group of 180 performers. Members include PSU students, 10 local musicians, 15 Astorian residents and many others from across the United States.

Their performance has been organized through working with MidAmerica, a musical productions company.

Under the guidance of MidAmerica’s founder, Peter Tiboris, the company has presented more than 675 concerts worldwide, approximately 550 of which were in New York. According the organization, these productions have included more than 1,770 American ensembles.

The vocal concert performance will consist of three musical scores by Brahms, Holst and Haydn.

The singers for this performance have been practicing together since March of this year, after Browne received invitation to guest conduct in the fall of 2002.

Since then, he has personally gathered vocalists from the Portland area to perform alongside one another for this production.

Performers will have the opportunity to see the sights and have some fun while on the trip, which will last from June 5-9. Rehearsal times have already been reserved for three of their days spent in New York.

Part of the preparation for this trip has been for the members to raise their own money to fund it. University funding was not an option because the group is not a specific university organization.

Of the Portland residents accompanying Browne, 15 performers are students from the university as well as a few from the Portland Symphonic Choir and the local First United Methodist Church choir.

“There are some very good church choirs in the United States, and they can stand right up with anybody else,” Browne said of the group’s abilities.

Browne’s career highlights have earned him a place among the local elite.

“I conducted the Portland Symphonic Choir, which sings with the Portland Symphony, for about 22 years,” he said. “I’ve not been doing that now for two years. I’m retired.”

Browne is the PSU director of cross-studies and has directed the vocal area for the past 25 years.

“The (PSU) chamber choir sang at Carnegie Hall by ourselves for 6,000 people last February. It was a big event; it got world prestige. So PSU is known for its performance all over the United States,” Browne said.

During the evening of June 8, Browne will conduct his group alongside other performances by director Kevin Rhiele and MidAmerican’s conductor-in-residence, Eric Dale Knapp.

Other performers will include sopranos Kerri Marcinko and Kendra Kachadoorian, mezzo-soprano Eunjoo Lee, tenor Arturo Charcon-Cruz, and bass-baritone Patrick Blackwell.

Other universities that have been given similar invitation to Carnegie Hall include South Dakota, Texas, and other church choirs.