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Tennessee singers wow Delta community

By Philip Winterstein
On April 13, 2014

Delta hosted the University of Tennessee singers for a vocal jazz concert on March 18. The 11-man vocal group is led by music instructor and pianist Wendel Werner.

The concert was accompanied by Werner on the piano and was lively with snapping and clapping worked into the arrangements. The audience even joined in with these percussion methods at times.

The singers performed jazz and various pop arrangements including “Stayin’ Alive” from the Bee Gees and “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. They also performed a few songs from classic Disney movies like “Under the Sea” and “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.”

Werner said the collaborative operation of a vocal concert was more than just having the students put on a show. Rather, he feels it’s his job to give the singers real-life challenges for the future.

“It’s a matter of me trying to find material that’s going to challenge the singers, and is music that the audience will like,” Werner said. “What I try to show them is that in the real world, they will learn music in a number of different ways.”

The UT singers said reaching a high note isn’t all that is on their list of what they hope to achieve. Some of their college majors and career paths include chemistry, broadcast journalism, theater, public relations, computer science and vocal education.

Several students spoke afterward on how fascinated they were of the singers’ capabilities.

“This was the first choir-like event that I’ve been to. I expected all of the music to be jazz, but I liked the range of the music that they played,” said Delta student Ashley Short.

Katelyn Walters said, “I’ve been doing choir since high school and I was really impressed with the vocal range that they had. They blew me away.”

“They were amazing. Getting the opportunity to see them perform was incredible,” Paige Fryzelka said.

Angela Tomlinson said, “The energy was palpable; you could feel the enthusiasm. It was a privilege to have them here.”

During their tour, the singers from the University of Tennessee have performed in various places around Knoxville, Tenn., Lexington, Ky. and Cincinnati. From here, the group will be heading home to Knoxville, Tenn.

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