USAO Choir readies for collaborative performance with Chickasha schools

USAO Concert Choir posed on the stage of the university chapel

USAO Choir readies for collaborative performance with Chickasha schools


More than 100 voices will combine to present a festive recital of sacred music on Palm Sunday, April 9, at 3 p.m. at First Christian Church in Chickasha. The Chickasha Middle School and High School choirs will collaborate with ensembles from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma in a performance that is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature a wide range of musical periods and styles, from Renaissance composer Jacques Arcadelt to 19th-century French Romantic Gabriel Faure, as well as numerous contemporary works by Oklahoman and other American composers. Pre- and post-concert music will feature the 16-rank Gress-Miles pipe organ at First Christian Church.

Anchoring the performance will be USAO’s concert choir and chamber ensemble, auditioned ensembles of men’s and women’s voices. The middle school choir; high school ensemble, Phase IV; and an auditioned mixed chamber ensemble performing a cappella, will all also be highlighted in the concert.

“Our spring concert not only features the wealth of talent at USAO, it’s an important event for the younger singers in our community,” said Dr. Jan Hanson, USAO professor of music. “We hope to make this Palm Sunday extra special for everyone who joins us to hear these wonderful performers.”

Hanson is the conductor of the USAO Concert Choir and Chamber Ensembles. She has been with the university since 1987 and teaches curriculum in music history, conducting and music methods. She currently serves as a board member of the Oklahoma Choral Directors Association and Oklahoma Arts Institute. Hanson has directed dozens of musical theatre productions at USAO and for regional companies.

Rhenada Finch is the USAO staff accompanist and teaches class and private piano. She works closely with Hanson on choir performances as well as special music events at the university and in the community. Finch is a 2006 USAO music graduate with an emphasis in piano performance.

David Briscoe, director of choral activities, conducts Chickasha’s middle and high school ensembles. Recipient of a master’s in vocal performance from Oklahoma City University, Briscoe has over 25 years of teaching experience, including eight years in Chickasha schools. He has previously taught at Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Christian University. He serves in the music ministry and is a sought-after solo artist for civic organizations and private events.

Gena Conder is the accompanist and choral assistant for the Chickasha choral ensembles. Following graduation from USAO, Conder became the accompanist for the vocal music programs at Chickasha high and middle schools and is in her 25th year of service. She also operates a private piano studio.