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Selected female SXU students perform music by and for women

Women of Distinction ensemble first performance

Chicago (April 19, 2006) – Saint Xavier University’s Women of Distinction ensemble will debut by performing choral music by and for women at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, at McGuire Hall on Saint Xavier University’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St. The public is invited to attend.

The new ensemble is made up of 12 Saint Xavier University female undergraduate singers selected specifically for their vocal color, musicianship and ability to work well in a small vocal ensemble, said ensemble conductor Jan Bickel, D.M.A., professor of music and director of vocal studies at Saint Xavier University.

The ensemble will perform music by female composers from the American, British and Canadian choral tradition, including the works of Gwyneth Walker, Eleanor Daley, Emma Lou Diemer and Amy Beach. Poetry works by Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, William Browne, Thomas Heywood, Robert Burns, John Boyle O’Reilly and Lucille Clifton that have been set to music will also be performed. 

The program opens with music from the women’s suffrage movement with two works composed while Ethel Smyth was being held in the Holloway Prison, continues with Amy Beach’s settings of fairy verses from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Diemer’s wonderfully atmospheric settings of Dickinson’s “Hope is the Thing,” and concludes with Walker’s imaginative musical settings of Lucille Clifton’s three poems about the lively, spirited, fun-loving girls in a hallway at an inner-city school.

The program will appeal to both men and women who are interested in choral music and poetry. A PowerPoint presentation that runs during the performance will provide many interesting and humorous facts and anecdotes about the composers and their music, the poets and their prose, as well as photos. 

For 24 years, Bickel has challenged students in the music department with new opportunities to stimulate creativity. Monica Kropidlowski, an adjunct instructor of piano at Saint Xavier, serves as the accompanist for the ensemble. She is well-known in the Beverly area as the organist/choir director for Church of the Holy Nativity, and pianist at many local events and performances.

The Women of Distinction ensemble will also present this program on a mini-tour of Michigan and Illinois in May, and has been invited to premiere four pieces of music with the Orchid Ensemble, which will be sung in Taiwanese, in March 2007. 

Admission for Saint Xavier University students, faculty and staff is free with a valid ID. General admission is $6 and $5 for seniors and visiting students. For additional information, please contact the Saint Xavier University Music Department at (773) 298-3421.


Contact: Saint Xavier University Music Department at (773) 298-3421 

Saint Xavier University, a Catholic institution inspired by the heritage of the Sisters of Mercy, educates men and women to search for truth, to think critically, to communicate effectively, and to serve wisely and compassionately in support of human dignity and the common good.

Saint Xavier University Media Relations: 773-298-3325
3700 West 103rd Street, Chicago Ill. 60655 * 18230 Orland Parkway, Orland Park, Ill. 60467
online faculty expert guide: www.sxu.edu/relations/faculty_experts.asp