Men’s Ensemble Performs at American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference


KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 30, 2016) — In a highly competitive process, the KSU School of Music’s Men’s Ensemble was recently chosen to perform at the American Choral Directors Association Southern Division Conference (ACDA) from March 9-11, in Chattanooga, Tenn. This invitation marks the fourth conference performance for the KSU Men’s Ensemble at National, Divisional, and State ACDA since 2013, including performances in Texas, Georgia, and Florida. 

Men's Ensemble singing on stage

Leslie J. Blackwell, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Music and Music Education at the School of Music, conducts the Men’s Ensemble. Recognized for her work with men’s voices, Dr. Blackwell served six seasons as the Artistic Director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, established the annual KSU Male Chorus Day at Kennesaw State University, and is a sought-after conductor for All-State Men’s Chorus throughout the Southeast.

Stephen Plate, Director of the School of Music, recognized the profound opportunity for the Men’s Ensemble to participate in the ACDA conference. “That the Men’s Ensemble has been selected to perform has created a stir and a sense of accomplishment for all involved. Under the astute leadership of Dr. Blackwell… our choral program continues to grow and expand as we continue to train musical leaders of tomorrow,” he said.

At the conference in Tennessee, the KSU Men’s Ensemble performed music by Estonian nationalistic composer Veljo Tormis, including Kaksikpuhendus (Diptychon) from Diptych (Double Dedication), Ühte laulu tahaks laulda (I’d Like To Sing A Song), and Meestelaulud (Men’s Songs) including Meeste laul (Men’s Song), Teomehe-laul (Serf’s Song), and Tantsulaul (Dancing Song). “These songs represent a proud musical expression of the Estonian people based on runosongs, an age-old traditional song repertoire, dating back thousands of years,” said Blackwell. Other works performed were Dirait-on by Morten Lauridsen.  Newly published contemporary works by Paul John Rudoi, Cantus, Yonder Come Day and Brian Schmidt’s Kyrie and Gloria from Mass of a Troubled Time concluded the program.

The 42-member KSU Men’s Ensemble regularly performs an intense concert schedule focusing on a cappella works in a jazz vocal style as well as standard classical literature for men’s voices.  A non-auditioned choir, the Men’s Ensemble is open to all men at KSU.