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Chamber Singers experience joie de vivre in France

August 18, 2006

Photo of the SFSU Chamber Singers performing with members of two other Bay Area choral groups at Saint-Sauveur Cathedral in Aix-en-Provence FranceThe SFSU Chamber Singers, a choir comprised of the University's top choral music students, took its first tour in 1997: to Napa.

Fast forward nine years. The Chamber Singers have now embarked on four overseas tours, including a trip to France from June 28 to July 8. During their latest tour, they performed in Paris, Aix-en-Provence and Rouen at churches and recital halls.

All 32 members of the Chamber Singers traveled to France. They were joined by several members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and the choir from Monte Vista Christian High School in Watsonville.

The Chamber Singers performed works by French and American composers including Eric Whitacre, Stephen Paulus and Francis Poulenc. Some compositions were performed a cappella, while others were accompanied by French youth orchestra Orchestre des Jeunes de Provence or organist Jonathan Dimmick. The choir teamed with Orchestre des Jeunes de Provence for a recital of "Requiem opus 9" by French composer Maurice Duruflé.

"We received a really warm reception, especially for the French repertoire," said Joshua Habermann, Chamber Singers conductor and associate professor of music.

Jonathan Dauermann, a senior and bass section leader for the Chamber Singers, said the tour gave him a much stronger grasp of French music and culture.

"I gained a greater sense of texture and location of the French music we study," said Dauermann, who plans to complete his bachelor of music degree next spring. "[The tour has] given me a lot of experience to draw from. Being in the area where the music was composed, I was able to take away things that I've lived, that I've touched, that I've experienced. You can't fake that."

Senior Amy Wang, who sings soprano, welcomed the opportunities to strengthen bonds with her colleagues and enjoy the sights, sounds and people of France. As the tour took place during the World Cup, the students witnessed a great deal of the excitement that came with France reaching the final round of the tournament.

"One of the greater moments was hanging out with the locals in Aix-en-Provence after the France-Portugal [semifinal]," said Wang, a double major in marketing and apparel design. "It was absolutely amazing to see the spirit and patriotism by the people for their country."

The Chamber Singers tour overseas every other year. They perform frequently on campus and at other locations throughout the Bay Area and western United States. The Chamber Singers, along with SF State's other student choirs, will hold their annual holiday performances Dec. 15-16 at Most Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco.

SFSU Chamber Singers CDs are available for purchase by contacting Habermann at

-- Matt Itelson
Photo: Courtesy of Joshua Habermann


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Last modified August 18, 2006 by University Communications