June 7, 2001

Mark Twain Chorale To Make Third Trip To Europe For International Music Festival

Italy will be the destination for several local musicians who will travel with the Mark Twain Chorale in June for a number of performances.

A group of 35 musicians will be accompanied by some 30 fans and family members on the trip at the end of June. The tour will include two days in Rome with visits to the Vatican and tours of the ancient city.

Four days will be spent in Tuscany where the musicians will participate in the Montecantini's International Choir Festival. The special event takes place across the town with concerts in the city square, the town's beautiful cathedral as well as the infamous Tettucio Spa.

During the trip the group will also have the opportunity to visit San Gimignano, Pisa and Florence before spending the final two days in Venice.

The Mark Twain Chorale originated in 1997 as a combination of the St. Paul's United Church of Christ church choir of Kahoka, and the Memphis Community Players Evening on Broadway per-formance group.

The name was chosen to represent the most famous author from the tri-state area. Since most Europeans know little about Missouri, the name Mark Twain also helps guests at the international events associate a homeland for the singers based on the history of the author.

The group consists of amateur singers ranging in age from the early teens to the mid-60s. The singers get together two or three times a month for rehearsals, converging on a central site from their homes in northern Missouri, southern Iowa and west central Illinois.

The group will be performing a number of concerts in northeast Missouri in preparation for the European tour. The Chorale will be at the Catholic Church in Edina June 9 at 5:30 p.m. They will follow that up with two performances Sunday, June 10. The opener will be at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Paul Church of Christ in Kahoka. An afternoon concert will be held at the Memphis Theatre at 2:00 p.m. The final tune up will be June 17 at the Methodist Church in Keosauqua, IA at 4:00 p.m.

The Chorale has a variety of music in its repertoire that features jazz, Broadway classics, African-American spirituals, and numerous serious arrangements.

The Italy tour will mark the group's third trip to Europe. The Mark Twain Chorale performed at the International Advent Sing in Vienna Austria in 1997. After a year off the group returned to Austria in 1999 to an international music festival held in Salzburg.

Former Memphis resident Dan O'Donnell directs the choir, which is accompanied on the piano by Ida Ross.

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