Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

University Singers invited to perform at Carnegie Hall


University SingersThe University Singers will perform a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City on May 3.

“This is the first time the University Singers have ever performed in Carnegie Hall,” said Wesley King, a junior majoring in vocal and choral music education and a three-year member of the group.

The Singers were invited to sing at Carnegie Hall after their conductor, John Ratledge, agreed to conduct at the hall’s biennial National High School Choral Festival. Ratledge is a professor of music, the area coordinator of graduate choral conducting and director of choral activities at the University.

“We were really surprised when we found out,” King said. “Dr. Ratledge is a really big-name conductor, and he’s invited to these things all the time. We were shocked that we were invited to go, too.”

The Singers will serve as the “host choir” for the Festival, said Laura Ashley Missildine, a junior majoring in vocal performance and a two-year member of University Singers. Performing both alone and alongside the National Festival Chorus, the Singers’ repertoire includes new music as well as selections from previous concerts.

Additionally, they’ll perform a piece Ratledge composed, Missildine said.

“You’re always grateful for these outstanding opportunities,” said Ratledge, who has conducted at Carnegie Hall twice. “It’s a great place. It’s a historic venue. Major players from all over the world perform there. It’s a very hallowed hall, in the truest sense of the word.”

Ratledge, Missildine and King agreed that the trip would not have happened without the University’s support.

“We weren’t really sure we were going to be able to go, and then the funding from the University made it happen,” Missildine said.

Ratledge specifically mentioned the dean of arts and sciences, the provost and Charles Snead, the director of the school of music.

“Our product is of very high caliber,” Ratledge said, and the trip allows the University Singers to “get that message out.”

King and Missildine both credit their success to hard work and to Ratledge.

“He’s an amazing director, but he’s also extremely inspirational,” Missildine said. “He always says, ‘Absence of thought is absence of color in the voice,’ and he’s always telling us to think about what we’re singing and always go back to the text, the poetry.”

King said he is excited to “show other people, besides the ones that come to our concerts, that we work hard and are really talented.”

The University Singers leave for New York Friday morning and will return to Tuscaloosa on Monday.

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