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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 18, 2005

Soweto Gospel Choir Brings Joyous Sound To Hancher March 6

The Soweto Gospel Choir, which draws its 26 members from some of the finest church choirs in South Africa, will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 6 in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

Performing both indigenous African music and western gospel traditions, the Soweto Gospel Choir won Best Gospel Choir at the 2003 American Gospel Music Awards and received a nomination at the South African Music Awards.

The choir's performances are not "concerts" in the classical sense: They include not only singing, but also drumming, dance and vibrant costumes.

Brian May, guitarist of the rock group Queen, commented, "The Soweto Gospel Choir is wonderful!!! You have never seen or heard such infectious joy -- guaranteed!!" And the reviewer for Scotland's Sunday Herald observed, "You don't have to be a believer to be inspired."

Listen to "Voices from Heaven," a National Public Radio feature about the Soweto Gospel Choir, at www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4485219.

Since its emergence in 2002 the Soweto Gospel Choir has achieved major success both in South Africa and on tour. Besides sold-out tours of Australia/New Zealand, and enthusiastically received performances in Edinburgh, Hamburg and Singapore, the choir is securing its place as one of South Africa's most prominent performing groups.

The choir performed for President Nelson Mandela and international celebrities as part of an AIDS benefit concert in November 2003, as Mandela launched a worldwide music-led campaign to raise awareness of the devastating impact of AIDS in Africa. The Soweto Gospel Choir performed with music legends including Bono, Queen, Peter Gabriel, Jimmy Cliff and the Eurythmics.

The choir's mission is not only to showcase the South African tradition of joyful gospel music, but also to give back to society. The Soweto Gospel Choir has performed several charity concerts, including one for old age pensioners and hospital patients from Diepkloof in Soweto.

The choir has set up a foundation through which funds are raised for AIDS orphans, and has raised funds for a home that cares for AIDS-infected mothers and children. The choir is now raising funds to aid tsunami victims in Asia and Africa.

Tickets for the Soweto Gospel Choir are $30/28/25; UI student $27/15; senior citizen $27/25.20/22.50; youth $21/19.60/17.50.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website, http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu.

Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail: hancher-box-office@uiowa.edu

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu

PHOTOS are available at http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher/media.html