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June 10, 2004

Corvallis Gazette Times

While most Oregon State University students will be spending late June learning the ropes of their summer jobs, trying to wake up in time for their summer classes, or hitting the beach, a group of OSU women will be forging international relationships through that universal language, music. Bella Voce, the OSU women's chorus, will travel to Estonia with their director, Tina Bull, to participate in the Estonian Song Fest, an annual event that draws 20,000 singers from all over the world. The Baltic nations have a renowned tradition of choral singing, and being invited to attend the festival is a great honor for the group.

"The tradition of singing in the Baltic countries is quite spectacular," said Marlan Carlson, chair of the music department. "These song fests are really a big deal. It's the experience of a lifetime." International touring is an important part of a well-rounded musical education, Carlson said. "For a serious music student in a top performing group, we want them to go on at least one international tour in their four years here," he said. "It's an extremely important part of the undergraduate experience."

But going on tours is an expensive business. No state money is used to fund the trips. Instead it takes a combination of fund-raising and a financial investment from the students. The Bella Voce trip fund-raiser didn't quite meet its goal, so the students have had to pay for a majority of their travel expenses. Carlson chipped in his own money to help out, and ensure the women were able to participate.

"It's no secret all public institutions in general and the arts in particular are facing financial challenges," Carlson said. "We do think this is a worthy cause." Visiting other countries and interacting with musicians around the world is an important component of mutual understanding and international relationships, Carlson said. "It's part of our obligation to be good international citizens," he said.

Posted by acapnews at June 10, 2004 10:42 PM

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