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Thursday, April 1, 2010



BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will introduce a new vocal performance course in the fall term that will give students more opportunities to perform.

The course will feature student vocalists in an ensemble performing at luncheons, in classes and at a holiday event in December.

“The initial student response to this offering has been quite good,” said Jeff Guterman, chairman of the Division of Communications and the Arts. “Several student performers have been lined up for the fall, and several more are expected when incoming freshmen register for classes this summer.”

In order to give Dr. John Levey, assistant professor of music, more time to work with the students in the one-credit course, the College-Community Choir will not be offered.

Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, explained how the change fits in with a larger vision for the performing arts at Pitt-Bradford.

“Our plans call for us to now direct our attention to developing the performing arts talents of our students and to showcase those talents at events on and off campus,” he said. “During the next few years, our new music professor, Dr. Levey, will begin the process of developing a student vocal ensemble.

“Unfortunately, this means that he will no longer be available to also organize and lead a college-community choir. We regret that we will have to take this action, but feel that this is in the best interest of the university and is consistent with our plans to develop and expand performing and fine arts options for our growing population of students.”

The College-Community Choir got its start in the 1970s by then-music professor Allan Slovenkay. It fell by the wayside when Slovenkay retired until Dr. Lee Spear, then associate professor of music, agreed to take it up in 1997. Spear retired in December 2008.

“We are very appreciative of the efforts of students, faculty, staff and community members on behalf of the choir,” Guterman said. “It’s often not easy to change, but we need to be afforded the opportunity to guide our curriculum and try something new, which in the end will serve a larger number of our students.

Levey said that the new course will “make it easier to recruit and engage students interested in vocal performance, and allow for closer musical collaboration.” He added that the students will sing a wider variety of music -- selections suited to their voices and abilities as well as the events at which will be performed.

The change to a student-centered ensemble also enables Levey to teach an additional three-credit general education course, an increasing need at Pitt-Bradford, where enrollment increased 36 percent between 2005 and 2009.

“That allows the music program to serve 30 to 40 more students each year,” Guterman said.

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