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UTM Choir to perform with Jackson Symphony

MARTIN, Tenn. – The UTM Choir and Caroline Oldfather, a May 2023 graduate from the University of Tennessee at Martin, will perform Dec. 2 in a holiday program with The Jackson Symphony at the Carl Perkins Civic Center in Jackson in the “Holiday Pops 2023” concert.


The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available in the balcony only and may be purchased by calling 731-427-6440. Tickets range from $40 to $50, but students may get a seat for $20 with their student ID.


Ticket information can be found at thejacksonsymphony.org by clicking on “Concerts,” then scrolling down to the pops concerts information.


Dr. Mark Statler, in his first year as the UTM director of choral activities, said that having his students perform with a professional orchestra like the Jackson Symphony Orchestra is “a really meaningful thing for the students.”


“They get a chance to see the professional world of music,” he said. “They see the high level of expectations that the orchestra members have. We aren’t paid like they are, but we are still held to those high expectations of timeliness, of respect during the rehearsal, of preparation – all of those kinds of things.”


Statler said the musical side of the performance will be a learning experience as well. “Musically, it’s a great experience for them because they’re doing this music at a really high

level, as they are singing it with the professional orchestra,” he said. “That’s a really fun experience.


“Another thing along with that, too, is getting to sing for different conductors is a great thing and is so helpful for the students to be exposed to different conductors and musical leaders because they will learn different things from different people.”


Statler said that Peter Shannon, the artistic director and conductor of The Jackson Symphony, “has great musical ideas.”


“He is very thoughtful about what he wants from the sound of the music, and he expresses that really well to the orchestra and the choir,” he said. “He is very captivating in his approach, so the students really want to sing well for him and learn from him. There are a number of benefits for our students in doing this performance.”


Statler said the choir had just performed with The Jackson Symphony on Nov. 4 at First Baptist Church of Jackson, singing Wolfgang Mozart’s “Requiem.”


“Once that performance finished on the fourth, we turned to get ready for the holiday music,” he said. “It’s lighter, and a lot of it is tunes that the students know: ‘Silent Night,’ ‘O Holy Night,’ ‘Ave Maria’ – different things that they’ve heard before and many of them had sung before.”


Oldfather, who graduated from UT Martin with a degree in music in May 2023, sang during the Nov. 4 “Requiem” performance and will perform at the “Holiday Pops 2023” concert on Dec. 2.


“It seems like she is doing really well, and she has a great attitude,’ Statler said. “She’s always positive and works really hard, and she always has worked hard to get where she is vocally and musically.”


The program will consist of 19 selections with an intermission. Christmas favorites to be performed include “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” “Carol of the Bells,” “Sleigh Ride” and excerpts from “The Nutcracker Suite.”

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