IU's Singing Hoosiers perform at Inaugural Ball in D.C.
When the Indiana Society of Washington, D.C., began planning the entertainment for its inaugural ball last June, organizers knew where to look first -- they contacted the Jacobs School of Music's choral department.
"Someone suggested the Singing Hoosiers because of the diversity of our repertoire," said Michael Schwartzkopf, the group's director. Schwartzkopf holds the Jacobs School's Pam and Jack Burks Professorship Chair in Music and is a member of the Alliance of Distinguished and Titled Professors at IU.
A networking group for former Hoosiers in the D.C. area, the Indiana Society of Washington, began throwing inaugural parties in 1952.
Once the Indiana Society extended an official invitation to the Singing Hoosiers through Janet Powell, board president of the Indiana Society of Washington, and Doug Wasitis, director of federal relations for Indiana University, several IU units came together to financially support the trip, said Schwartzkopf. Those units included the IU Foundation, the Jacobs School of Music, the President's office, the IU Alumni Association and the vice president of public affairs and government relations.
The 93 Singing Hoosiers auditioned for the 54 available slots and were selected on the last day of classes in December.
"Early the next morning (Friday, Jan. 16), we drove to Bedford, Penn., and then on to D.C. early the next day," said Schwartzkopf. "We gave the students free time to sightsee that day. On Sunday afternoon, we did a concert at Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., where there were a lot of IU alumni and other people in the community."
On Monday, the night before inauguration day, the Singing Hoosiers traveled to the Omni Shoreham Hotel for the Indiana Inaugural Ball, sponsored by the Indiana Society of Washington, D.C., where the group performed in the Ambassador Ballroom for a crowd of about 1,000 that included Indiana business leaders and politicians. The group sang the "Star Spangled Banner" and capped the evening with songs by Indiana legends Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael.
"It was indeed an honor to represent the state of Indiana, Indiana University and the Jacobs School of Music," said Schwartzkopf. "We appreciated the support that President McRobbie and other administrators at IU provided to make this trip possible for our students. What a magnificent experience it was for all of us."
About the Singing Hoosiers
The Singing Hoosiers are considered America's Premiere Collegiate Concert Show Choir. Averaging 100 members, the group features collegiate performers from the world-renowned Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, as well as students with a variety of other majors, from business to chemistry to political science. They perform American popular music, jazz and Broadway favorites.
Annually, the Singing Hoosiers perform several concerts at home on the campus of IU Bloomington, including the "Chimes of Christmas" concert in December and their Spring Concert. The group has also appeared in the Jacobs School's opera and oratorio productions and at Big Ten basketball games.
Throughout the group's 58-year history, the Singing Hoosiers have appeared with such legendary entertainers as Bob Hope, Alan Sherman, Red Buttons, Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington and Indiana's favorite son, Hoagy Charmichael. The group also has performed with opera legend Sylvia McNair and with several professional symphony orchestras, including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, Evansville Philharmonic, South Bend Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops.
With Maestro Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops, the Singing Hoosiers performed at Carnegie Hall in 1995 and appeared on a televised PBS Christmas special with Mel Torme. This partnership with the Pops has resulted in the release of several recordings on the Telarc International label. These include the Grammy-nominated A Disney Spectacular and The Music Man. They have also recorded The Magical Music of Disney, Hollywood's Greatest Musicals, Magical Musicals, and most recently in 2007, Christmastime is Here.
For more information, see https://www.indiana.edu/~singingh/.