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Jan. 7, 2019
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music is pleased to collaborate with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony on the upcoming concert performance of Bizet’s Carmen on Jan. 11 and 12 at the Centre in the Square.
This special evening will feature over 150 Laurier music faculty, students and alumni, including Autumn Wascher (current student), soprano; Midori Marsh (BMus '17), soprano; Jamie Groote (BMus '16, DipOpera '18), mezzo-soprano; River Guard (BMus '17), tenor; Chad Louwerse (voice instructor), baritone; Opera Laurier Chorus; Laurier Singers; Maureen Forrester Singers; Laurier Concert Choir and Alumni Choir.
The opportunity for current voice students to share, as choir members, one of Canada’s finest stages with so many prominent alumni and a first-class orchestra is certain to be a highlight of their time at Laurier.
This is not the first time Laurier and the KW Symphony have collaborated on Carmen, whose wildly popular arias and choruses are among the best known in all of opera. In 1972, a concert version of Carmen was presented with the talents of renowned contralto Maureen Forrester (Carmen), beloved former faculty member Victor Martens (Don José), honorary alumnus and former faculty member Daniel Lichti, and former instructor and alumna Lynda Mieske, with alumni Alvin Reimer, Keith Knights and Patricia Pascoe. The conductor was the now-legendary Raffi Armenian, who returned to Laurier to conduct Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen in 2016.
These members of the 1972 production of Carmen have left a legacy within the Laurier Faculty of Music, which impacts music students in 2019 daily. Maureen Forrester would go on to become chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University from 1986 to 1990 and was honoured with the naming of the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall in 1994.
Victor Martens taught at Laurier until 2006, inspiring the careers of students like last year’s Canadian Opera Company Artist-in-Residence Jane Archibald. Martens passed away in November 2018 after returning to Laurier in the fall of 2018 to teach voice students. In 2014, Daniel Lichti was named Laurier’s Honorary Alumnus of the Year. After having taught at Laurier since 1998, during which time he spent many years as coordinator of the voice program, Lichti retired in 2017, and now maintains a busy national and international performance schedule. Lynda Mieske taught at Laurier for over 30 years, retiring in 2018, and focused her studio teaching developing healthy singers, inspiring their energy, focus, listening and communication skills. After his passing, Keith Knights was honoured by his friends with the Keith Knights Memorial Award, which is granted yearly to the current Laurier student who shows outstanding talent as a performer and who makes a palpable impact on his/her contemporaries and the broader community.
As we look back on 1972 and see the impact these singers have made, we are eager to see how the flourishing careers of the 2019 Laurier alumni and students performing in Carmen will inspire the next generation of singers to pass through the doors of Laurier’s renowned Faculty of Music. An alumni reception will be held prior to the performance on Jan. 12 at the Centre in the Square. To attend, contact email@example.com for details.
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Mieke Kanmacher, Outreach and Student Recruitment Coordinator
Faculty of Music, Wilfrid Laurier University
Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications and Public Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University
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