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Singing Hoosiers embark on Greek tour

Trip to focus on cultural exchange

April 19, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Singing Hoosiers, a premier collegiate concert show choir from Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, will close its 2006-2007 season by traveling to Greece for a 10-day, four-concert tour that promises to provide the choir and its Greek audiences a rare opportunity for cultural exchange.

Singing Hoosiers

Michael Schwarzkopf, director of the Singing Hoosiers since 1995, directs the students during a recent rehearsal. The group will travel to Greece in May for a 10-day, four-concert tour.

Print-Quality Photo

Michael Schwarzkopf, director of the Singing Hoosiers since 1995, said the idea for the trip was initiated by Vasiliki Tsouva, a doctoral choral student from Greece, who was certain that the choir would be wildly popular if it were to travel there. Her hometown of Trikala, in the center of Greece, invited the Singing Hoosiers to spend two all-expenses-paid days there, during which they will present two concerts.

"As part of our experience, we've been invited to sing in Greek and will be accompanied by Greek musicians on traditional instruments," Tsouva said.

But first, the group will visit Athens to perform at the Cultural Center of Halandri.

For Tsouva, the group's trip has personal significance. "Bloomington is like my second home," she said. "I am so excited that my American friends will be able to see my original home and experience Greek culture and music. This is the first American choir to come to my hometown in Greece -- that it is from my second home is so special."

Averaging 100 members -- of which approximately 70 will be traveling to Greece—the Singing Hoosiers are comprised of collegiate performers from the Jacobs School of Music, as well as students with a variety of other majors, from business to chemistry to political science. The Singing Hoosiers have entertained millions in 18 states and more than 26 countries, including Europe, Australia, the Far East and the Caribbean. The group's last international trip was to Great Britain in 2004.

Of the Singing Hoosiers' repertoire for this trip, Schwarzkopf said, "For the most part, we'll be showcasing traditional American musical fare -- gospel, folksongs, Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael, a variety of popular music and Broadway show tunes. Our last concert, in Volos, will be a benefit for children's cancer research in a brand new magnificent auditorium."

Nicole Pollard, a junior and choral music education major from Lafayette, Ind., has been a member of the Singing Hoosiers since she was a freshman. She and her peers are looking forward to the trip for many reasons.

"This will give the Singing Hoosiers the ability to show our talents and represent our university to a totally different audience. Touring shows are also a fantastic way for the Singing Hoosiers family to bond. When you spend 10 days overseas with your closest friends, you make the best memories anyone could ask for," she said.

The trip has been made possible, in part, through funding from the IU Foundation and a generous gift from an alumnus of the Singing Hoosiers.