WWU Choral and Orchestra Festival Concert features guest conductor

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David Rayl

COLLEGE PLACE -- Walla Walla University will hold the 2010 Choral and Orchestra Festival Concert at 4 p.m. Saturday in the University Church, located at 212 SW Fourth St.

This biennial concert, which alternates with the university's Band Festival Concert, will feature close to 200 high school musicians from across the Northwest. The students spend two and a half days in intensive rehearsal and learning time. The festival culminates with the concert Saturday afternoon.

This year the university welcomes a special guest conductor, David Rayl, professor of music, director of the choral program and dean for graduate studies in music at Michigan State University, in Lansing, Mich.

"I matriculated under Rayl for a couple of years and know firsthand what a high-caliber musician he is," said Kraig Scott, professor of music at Walla Walla University and coordinator of the festival. "He's a fabulous conductor, a great teacher and an approachable, friendly gentleman."

Rayl will direct the choral portion of the festival. WWU's jazz ensemble, with director Michael Agidius, will also accompany the choir for one piece. Brandon Beck, associate professor of music and director of the orchestra program at WWU, and Benjamin Gish, adjunct faculty teaching cello at WWU, prepared the orchestra to accompany the choir.

Under Rayl's baton, the MSU University Chorale has appeared at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (2007), the Central Division convention of ACDA (2006), and the national meeting of the College Music Society (2002). He has also prepared the Chorale for five sets of performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to his MSU appointment, Rayl served for 12 years at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Under his direction, the choir sang at the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association (1995), at the 27th annual Florilège Vocale in Tours, France (1998), and at Maggio Musicale in Florence, Italy (2000). Rayl's recent appearances include his Carnegie Hall debut with Mid-America Productions leading the Beethoven Mass in C.

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information on the event, contact the Walla Walla University Music Department at 509-527-2561 or 800-541-8900, ext. 2561.

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