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DWU Choral Union performs in Sunday's Homecoming Hymn Festival in Mitchell

Another collaborative effort will take place this weekend, as the Dakota Wesleyan University Choral Union holds its fall concert.

The Choral Union will perform with the Wesleyan Choir for the homecoming Hymn Festival at 5 p.m. Sunday at the First United Methodist Church.

Dr. Clinton Desmond directs what he calls the "town and gown" ensemble, which is comprised of DWU students, faculty and community members. Desmond is the director of choral activities, music department chair and assistant professor of music.

For the concert, Desmond said they will join forces with the Dakota Wesleyan Choir, the chamber choir, a children's choir and a bell choir.

He said each group rehearses separately, then comes together a few times before the performance, where they will do two numbers together, and each group will perform separately.

"We came together (Tuesday) night to rehearse and it was fantastic," Desmond said. Desmond, who started with DWU in the fall of 2010, said the collaborations started in the spring of 2011, when the combined choirs and the Huron Symphony performed Vivaldi's "Gloria."

He said it was a deliberate effort to build back up both the university's music program and the community's. "At one time, there was a group called the Dakota Chorale, the main community choir of Mitchell," he said. "For a while it was very strong, then it kind of faded away."

After starting small, Desmond and others were able to orchestrate the joint concert last fall, which he said was "pretty successful." "I inherited a small program but with great potential," he said. "We have really started to build the program up." And, he said he only sees improvement in the future.

"We're doing pretty well in the music department, so we're happy to do these kinds of projects," he said. "I think this semester we have one of the strongest groups of singers in the community group. We have some fantastic singers."

After Sunday's concert, he said the Choral Union will begin working on its Christmas repertoire, and will accept new singers. Rehearsals are from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays in Smith Hall, room 211, on campus. There will be a $15 music purchase charge for all singers.

If interested, attend rehearsal or contact Desmond at (605) 995-2676 or Membership is open to singers high school age and up. There are no auditions.