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University of Iowa News Release

March 31, 2005

Old Gold Singers And Xhileration Will 'Swing Into Spring' April 16

The University of Iowa Old Gold Singers will take their annual "Swing Into Spring" concert downtown this year, with the performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16, in the Enlgert Theatre in downtown Iowa City.

An ensemble of the UI School of Music, the Old Gold Singers will be led by UI graduate assistant Michael Reese. The group consists of 28 singers, plus a 10-member band.

It has become a tradition for the Old Gold Singers to showcase groups from the local schools on their concerts. This spring, the guest group will be Xhilaration, the varsity show choir from Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids, under the direction of Andrew Last.

"This is an opportunity to watch a rising star in Andrew Last," Reese said. "He's got an unbelievably talented group with a fun show in Xhileration. They're worth the price of admission."

The Old Gold Singers will open the show with Reese's arrangements of Linda Eder's "It's No Secret Anymore" and Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life." The following sets will include songs from the musicals "Boy from Oz," "Parade" and "Crazy for You."

Xhilaration will perform "Willamania" from "The Will Rogers Follies," "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," "Human Heart" from "Once on this Island" and "Come Sail Away."

Now in its seventh year and first year under Last, Xhilaration comprises students in grades 10-12 who audition for the group in the spring and sing in either the Women's Chorale or the Xavier Chorale. Xhilaration's 2005 schedule included "SuperNova," the Kennedy Show Choir Classic, "A Touch of Class," "Sing All About It" and the Waukee Invitational. This year's group has earned awards in best male/female soloists, best choreography, best staging, best vocals and best stage crew. Xhilaration has been crowned AAA champions twice and grand champions at Sioux City.

Last received his bachelor's degree in music education and vocal performance from Luther College and his masters in choral conducting from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. A frequent guest conductor and clinician in the Midwest and Southwest, Last is listed in the "Who's Who of American Teachers" and has received teaching awards from the Cedar County Educator's Association and KCRG-TV9.

In his first year as director of the OGS, Reese is a UI doctoral student in choral conducting. He spent eight years in the Cedar Rapids Public Schools, including six as director of the "West Side Delegation" at Jefferson High School. Under his direction, "West Side Delegation" received either first runner-up or grand champion honors for best vocals, best choreography and best band at competitions in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.

In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Reese served on the board of the Iowa Choral Director's Association from 1996 to 2003. He has served as Fall Student Symposium Chair, Youth Choir Clinic Coordinator, Choral Selection Committee Member, Choral Composition Committee Member, Reading Session Chair for the 2002 NCACDA Convention in Des Moines and recently completed his second term as Repertoire and Standards Chair for Male Choirs in Iowa. 

The Old Gold Singers are a select musical group whose members are chosen by audition. In addition to the "Fall Festival," their campus performances include the holiday favorite "Cocoa and Carols" and the annual "Swing Into Spring" concert. The group also travels throughout Iowa, performing for schools and community groups. Past tours outside the state have taken them to New York, Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas.

Tickets for "Swing Into Spring" will be $10, and $5 for UI students, seniors and youth 18 and under. Tickets are available from the Englert Box Office, 221 E. Washington in downtown Iowa City. The box office is open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday. For additional ticket information, call the box office at 319-688-2653.

The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing  the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic  theater.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact 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: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.