Vevay and Switzerland County are again playing a role in a music festival they helped found 78 years ago.
In 1938, Vevay High School was one of the founding members of the Ohio River Choral Festival, and this year Switzerland County’s choir, under the direction of Jonathan Grice, will journey to New Albany to participate. There, they’ll join 300 other singers from the festival’s founding high schools of Madison, Lawrenceburg, New Albany and Jeffersonville.
Switzerland County’s singers will work the entire day with a world-renowned choral conductor. Rollo Dilworth, a Temple University music professor, will premiere the latest of his 150-plus choral works at the festival. Dilworth, Chorus America’s national board chair, comes to the Ohio Valley Choral Festival after conducting 43 all-state choirs and four national honor choirs. In leading the 78th festival, Dilworth will join such music notables who have conducted at Ohio Valley: Wartburg College’s Paul Torkelson, who conducted the festival 10 times; Eph Ehly from the University of Missouri Conservatory Of Music, who directed the festival eight times; and Florida State’s André Thomas.
During the festival’s public concert, Grice will lead the Switzerland County High School Choir in a spotlight performance of “Pompeii,” by Dan Smith. The Switzerland County singers will join a mass choir under the Dilworth’s baton for works that will be accompanied by the Floyd County Youth Symphony and organist David K. Lamb, who has concertized throughout North America and Europe.
The concert will conclude with a traditional flourish: the singing of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” when every person from the generations of former Ohio Valley Festival participants is invited to join the singers on stage for the finale.
The concert will be held in the New Albany High School gymnasium, 1020 Vincennes Street, on Monday, February 22nd, and will begin at 7 p.m. General admission is $5, and tickets will be available at the door. The festival’s institutional sponsors are Classic Organs of Indiana, the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, Nicholson Printing and United Community Bank.