California State University, Fullerton

News Categories

University Singers at National Conference

Invitational Performance Considered Prestigious Honor for Student Musicians

March 11, 2013

Cal State Fullerton’s University Singers are in Dallas this week to perform March 13-14 at the national conference of the American Choral Directors Association.

Being invited to perform there is no fluke, said Robert M. Istad, University Singers conductor and associate professor of music.

College and university groups considered for the showcase undergo a blind selection, in which a panel of judges listens to recordings of music performed by the ensembles over three years, thus making sure the level of performance is of the highest caliber over time, not just a one-time wonder, according to Istad.

“I submitted recordings last March and got the congratulatory letter and invitation to perform in July,” he said.

CSUF’s University Singers is among six university choirs that were invited to perform. The others are from Westminster Choir College, Florida State University, University of Louisville, University of North Texas and the University of Delaware.

“Being invited to this conference elevates the perception of our program,” Istad said. “The deans of the biggest conservatories will be there to hear our students perform. There will be 5,000 conductors from all over the world in attendance. We are really honored and excited to have been selected.”

Besides the university groups, five community colleges — Fullerton College and Mt. San Antonio College are the only two from California — were invited to perform.

Music students from the two Orange County colleges often transfer to Cal State Fullerton, Istad said. “That’s part of the secret to our success.”

CSUF’s students credit Istad for raising the profile of the University Singers. This is the first time the group has been invited to perform at the conference since Istad joined the Music Department faculty seven years ago.

“As a graduate student under Dr. Istad, performing in this conference confirms that I chose the right school and the right teacher for continuing my music education,” said Stacey Kikkawa, who is pursuing a master’s degree in music.  “I feel honored to have the opportunity to be a part of an ensemble that will represent Cal State Fullerton and the Department of Music.”

The musicians will perform “Berliner Messe (Berlin Mass)” by Arvo Pärt in Latin, “Christ lag in Todesbanden, BWV 4” by Johann Sebastian Bach in German and “Ruth” by Paul Ayres and “Triptych” by Tarik O’Regan in English.

The 33 singers traveling to Dallas for the conference are listed below by city of residence. Graduate students are noted by an asterisk.

  • Anaheim: bass Ray Medina* and alto Anabel Martinez
  • Buena Park: tenor John Haddon 
  • Burbank: bass Dino Battaglia and alto Amanda Salmen
  • Corona: tenor Jeffrey Derus 
  • Diamond Bar: soprano Alyssa Cossey* and tenor Patrick Zubiate*
  • Fountain Valley: tenor Andrew Campos 
  • Fullerton: altos Colleen Chester and Stacey Kikkawa*, soprano Kristi James, tenor Matthew Netto* and bass Jackson McDonald
  • Garden Grove: tenor Fredric Hallas 
  • Granite Bay: tenor Joe Lopez
  • Irvine: soprano Ashley Johnson and bass Paul Keilbach
  • La Habra: tenor Jeremy Wiggins*
  • La Habra Heights: alto Kaleigh Schiro
  • Los Angeles: bass Mazá Zimmerman 
  • Long Beach: soprano Melanie Harvey
  • Mission Viejo: soprano Kimberly Nason*
  • Orange: soprano Rebecca Land and alto Kyrstin Ohta
  • Placentia: soprano Joslyn Sarshad
  • Redlands: alto Tiffani Santiago 
  • Riverside: bass Christopher Martinez and soprano Kristen Pickering 
  • Santa Ana: bass Trinidad Cano
  • San Clemente: bass William Reeder 
  • Santa Cruz: bass James Lesu’i
  • Walnut Creek: alto Chelsea Lyons

Accompanying the University Singers will be 11 instrumentalists — 10 undergraduates, all first-chair players, and Michael Chang, lecturer in music, who will play viola. The students are:

  • Chino — cellist Mikko Pablo
  • Fullerton — violinists Darryl Black, Elba Palomo Garcia and Tammy Hung
  • Irvine — bass player Andrew de Stackelberg
  • Los Alamitos — violinist Moses Kim
  • Laguna Niguel — violinist Jonathan Nagano
  • Mission Viejo — cellist Kevin Mills
  • Placentia — violinist Lambert Hsieh
  • Walnut Creek — viola player Alex Lee

By: Mimi Ko Cruz, 657-278-7586

Tags:  Arts & CultureCampus UpdatesTitan Pride