By Matt Holzapfel
February 9. Whitley Auditorium. 7:30 p.m. Mark your calendars. The Dutch a cappella group Olga Vocal Ensemble will be performing under the direction of Stephen Futrell, an Associate Professor of Music at Elon University, and the Director of Choral Activities for the school.
“Elon Office of Cultural and Special Programs produces a Lyceum Series each year. Lyceum brings in professional artists ranging from classical music, to Shakespeare companies, to Peking Acrobats—you name it,” said Futrell. “There is a faculty committee which works with Jeff Clark (who is Director of Cultural & Special Programs).”
This year Elon was lucky enough to host the Ensemble, who come out of Utrecht, Netherlands. An article on E-Net, Elon’s online news service, describes the Ensemble as “a young five-member a cappella group” that ” approaches old traditions in a fresh way combining enthusiasm, humor, and drama with genuine vocal clarity to enrapture both young and old.”
Just how did Professor Futrell end up being able to direct this group, though? “As part of The Olga Ensemble’s visits to colleges, they offer an opportunity for that college’s choir to perform with them. In this case, our auditioned chamber choir, Camerata (which I conduct), has been invited to perform three pieces on the concert Thursday night.” Camerata is Elon’s premier choir group, membership in Camerata is on a yearly basis and is by audition only.
Futrell, who graduated from LSU with Bachelor and Master degree in Music Education, has been at Elon teaching and directing music since 1999. “This will be a unique experience. The Olga Ensemble is awesome,” said Futrell when asked why students should come see the Ensemble’s performance on Thursday. “Students will get to hear their peers performing with a professional group. Art & culture in any community speaks to the quality of life in that community.”
Futrell also encourages any Elon student who can sing, to “come join any of our 3 choirs.” There’s Camerata (auditioned, chamber choir), Chorale (non-auditioned, large choir) or élan (auditioned–Elon’s official, a cappella/vocal jazz/pop ensemble). With so many options, the music department wants to make sure no talent goes wasted or unrecognized at Elon. For more information about the Olga Vocal Ensemble, you can go to http://olgavocalensemble.com/bio/. Tickets to the performance on Thursday night can be purchased for $13, or for free with a valid Elon ID.
Looking to join one of Elon’s premier singing groups? Check out http://www.elon.edu/e-web/academics/elon_college/music/choralactivities.xhtml.