The Wartburg College Castle Singers will present concerts in six countries on their international tour, May 1-24.
The vocal jazz ensemble is scheduled to perform in Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Czech Republic and France during the college’s one-month May Term. The Castle Singers are one of Wartburg’s three music ensembles that tour internationally every third year and in the United States during the other two years.
The Castle Singers, directed by professor of music Dr. Jane Andrews and accompanied by a rhythm section, specialize in all types of vocal jazz music, from swing and blues to Latin and cool — and have added sacred music.
“One of the big things on this international tour,” Andrew said, “is singing at St. Nikolai Church in Leipzig, Germany, where Johann Sebastian Bach served. What is so significant is we are singing jazz. I think Bach would like that!
“We will be singing the ‘Jazz Mass,’ commissioned for our European tour and Christmas with Wartburg — the ‘Kyrie’ a swing style; the ‘Gloria,’ a samba; the ‘Credo,’ a cha-cha; the ‘Sanctus,’ a waltz; and the ‘Agnus Dei,’ a blues.
“When you think of jazz, you don’t usually think of sacred music,” she added. “This ‘Jazz Mass’ is a significant addition to the larger body of choral music and will be performed by many more choirs in the future. There has been nothing like it, until now.”
The Castle Singers are chosen by audition and represent most of the college’s major areas of academic study. Andrews has taken them on May Term tours to Brazil, Europe, and Australia. The ensemble performed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates during the 2011 Winter Break.
Past U.S. tours have included performances at Kansas City’s historic Blue Room and the Dazzle Jazz Club in Denver. The Castle Singers were the only vocal jazz ensemble to perform at the recent North Central American Choral Directors Association Convention in Madison, Wis.
Prior to joining the Wartburg faculty, Andrews was director of music at the 3,000-member Atonement Lutheran Church in Overland Park, Kan. In the early 1990s, she chaired the music department at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids. Andrews also taught in public schools for 15 years. The UNC Jazz Press has published her arrangement of “Still, Still, Still.” She has published in the choral journal The Diapaison, the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians journal and the Iowa Music Educators Association journal.
Andrews earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from the University of Northern Colorado, a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Colorado State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree in Conducting from the University of Missouri Conservatory in Kansas City.
Wartburg is a four-year, selective liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The college enrolls 1,805 students from 29 U.S. states and 49 countries. Its top five majors in terms of student enrollment are biology, business administration, communication arts, elementary education and psychology. More than 400 students from all majors participate in the college’s various music groups.
More information about the Wartburg ensembles is available at www.wartburg.edu/music.