Zegree: Singing Hoosiers aim to combine tradition with fresh repertoire

Steve Zegree joined the faculty of the IU Jacobs School of Music last fall, taking the helm of the Singing Hoosiers. Audiences got their first glimpse of his work at the group’s Chimes of Christmas concert, and now he and the Singing Hoosiers are gearing up for their annual spring concert, set to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday at IU Auditorium. Art at IU caught up with Zegree, and asked about his preparations:

Are you ready for Saturday’s show?
On behalf of the Singing Hoosiers, we’re really looking forward to sharing our annual spring concert with our audience. We’re doing our best to combine the many wonderful traditions and songs that our audiences have become accustomed to with a new repertoire that represents the interests and musical tastes of the current students.

The Singing Hoosiers

The Singing Hoosiers take the stage during the group’s annual Christmas concert.

What should audiences expect?
It’ll be full of variety, from Mozart to Cole Porter to The Beatles to Beyoncé. We are hoping to present a fun, family-friendly, fast-paced show that is exciting, energetic and entertaining. The program will include songs from the group’s classic repertoire — including Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust” and “Skylark” — while Singing Hoosiers alumni will join the group in a performance of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” guest conducted by former director Michael Schwartzkopf. We’ll also be joined by the IU African American Choral Ensemble for two numbers, one conducted by ensemble director Raymond Wise and the other by Singing Hoosiers assistant director Ly Wilder. The program will also include a virtuoso a cappella medley of songs composed by John Williams, which we think the audience will love.

How are rehearsals going?
What makes me most proud about the program are the production numbers that we are preparing especially for this concert. These numbers have been conceived, arranged, produced, directed, choreographed and costumed by the talented and creative students in the Singing Hoosiers. These production numbers will be performed just once, at our spring concert, so people will not want to miss it! I am extremely proud of the work ethic, artistry and high standards that our students are demonstrating through the rehearsal process. The medleys are extremely fast paced, and the choreography, staging and costume changes are quite challenging, and this is a new performance experience for many of our students, and it is fun observing their musical and personal growth and development.

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