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Guest Speakers Included in UW Collegiate Chorale Spring Concert April 12

March 30, 2018

The 40-voice University of Wyoming Collegiate Chorale will present “A Breathing Peace,” including five guest speakers, Thursday, April 12.

The TED-talk-like format -- with musical commentary and speakers from the Laramie community -- will be in the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts concert hall at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for the public; $7 for faculty, staff and senior citizens; and $6 for students. Tickets are available at the Wyoming Union information desk and the Performing Arts box office, by calling (307) 766-6666 or going online at

“Speakers were chosen by the chorale through an application and vetting process in which each applicant was asked to submit a talk that will invite the audience to ponder, converse and walk away from the evening’s experience having been challenged to think more deeply about the world in which we live,” says Nicole Lamartine, who directs the Collegiate Chorale.

Speakers and topics for the spring concert are:

-- Kent Drummond, UW associate professor of marketing, who will discuss “Agents of the Divine.”

-- Birgit Fowler Burke, UW Libraries executive staff assistant and a singer-songwriter, who will discuss “A Sense of Responsibility.”

-- Mike Vercauteren, director of Interfaith Good Samaritan, who will discuss “Without Suffering, There is No Compassion.”

-- Mike Berry, senior pastor at First Christian Church, who will discuss “Soundtrack of Humanity.”

-- Rod Garnett, a UW professor emeritus in the UW Department of Music, who will discuss “Anthems that Empower.”

To highlight the themes of each speaker, the Collegiate Chorale will sing two pieces by Daniel Elder, each written on texts by the 13th century Sufi mystic poet Rumi. Other pieces include “Hlohonolofatsa,” a South African greeting song, and “MLK,” a song written by Irish rock band U2 to honor the work of Martin Luther King Jr.

In response to Garnett’s talk about how anthems bind people together, the chorale will sing “Jelem,” a national anthem by the Romani people, and the South African national anthem "Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika" -- translated to "God Bless Africa.”

The concert ends with Jake Runestad’s “We Can Mend the Sky,” a piece with text written by a 14-year-old Somali girl who immigrated to the U.S.

“Runestad’s piece is rousing and hopeful, and it is an affirmation of diversity for us,” Lamartine says.

The Collegiate Chorale also will teach a simple song to the audience from the Justice Choir Songbook.

For more information, call Lamartine at (307) 288-0042 or email

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