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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Oct. 8: Ellis Street Singers Perform with Contemporary Vocal Ensembles

Performance will be in Halling Recital Hall.

2017-10-09
Minnesota State University, Mankato Department of Music News Release, 9-5-2017

MANKATO, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato's Department of Music opens the University’s Sesquicentennial year with a concert featuring the Ellis Street Singers performing with the department’s Contemporary Vocal Ensembles, Sunday, Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. in the Elias J. Halling Recital Hall of the Earley Center for Performing Arts, 320 Maywood Ave.

Director of Jazz Studies Douglas Snapp (pictured at right) directs the Contemporary Vocal Ensembles and former music faculty member Al Wortman (pictured below) directs the Ellis Street Singers.

The Ellis Street Singers began in 1969 under the direction of Al Wortman. The group consisted of full-time music students from Mankato State College interested in singing popular music. The Ellis Street Singers consisted of usually 12-16 singers accompanied by a six-member combo. The group performed jazz music, popular music from the time and musical theater pieces. These pieces were selected by the students.

Over the last 20 years of the group, the Ellis Street Singers performed as many as 22 shows over the Christmas holiday season at Cannon Falls, Minn. In addition to performing throughout Southern Minnesota, the group always included a trip over spring break or at the end of the year.

Over the years, the group went to many different performance locations including Canada, Mount Rushmore, New Orleans, New York, Australia and two goodwill tours to the Soviet Union. The 1995-1996 academic years were the last years of the Ellis Street Singers due to Wortman's retirement.

For the last Christmas concert at Cannon Falls, the Ellis Street Singers were joined by Ellis Street Alumni and performed songs they had done in previous years.

The Contemporary Ensembles portion of the show features Maverick Fusion and Maverick Vocal Precision. The two ensembles feature a cappella styles of vocal groups such as Pentatonix, Rockapella and Backtrack.

Maverick Vocal Point recently performed in the SingStrongDC vocal festival in Washington, D.C. Recognized as one of the top groups of the evening, the team received critiques from three professionals in the field, who talked about its great blend, outstanding soloists and fine choice of repertoire that highlighted the many talented vocalists in the group.

The group also received a private coaching session with Broadway/television star-singer Diana Preisler and festival producer/a cappella star Jonathan Minkof.

Concert admission is $9; $7 for students with a valid MavCard. Discount tickets are available online for University students. Advance purchase is strongly encouraged. Those who wish to purchase tickets online should go to www.mnsu.edu/music. For more information, call the Performance Series office, (507) 389-5549.

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