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HPU choirs perform in Austria

Members of Howard Payne University’s Concert Choir and University Singers recently performed in Austria with six other choral groups.

HPU’s contingent of 23 performed with a mass choir, numbering almost 100 singers, and a chamber orchestra in a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem” at the historic Votivkirche. The renowned composer was born in Salzburg, living and performing in Austria for most of his life. This historical context lent significance to the experiences of attendees.

“A part of my heart will always be in Austria, especially Salzburg,” said Dr. Christopher Rosborough, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. “To host this trip was an immense honor and I know that, for those in attendance, minds were sharpened, hearts were changed and eyes were opened. There is nothing more empowering to the musician and scholar than to experience first-hand the history of a specific composer. In our case, a musicological wellspring such as Austria holistically filled each of us.”

Student Taylor Davis commented on the experience of performing abroad at a historic site.

“This trip was absolutely incredible,” said Davis. “To sing alongside six other groups in the Votivkirche in Vienna was absolutely magical and I was left in tears at the end of the concert. Austria is such a kind, beautiful country and I feel as though my life and view of the world have changed significantly after going.”

The ensemble performed under the direction of Dr. John Dickson, director of choral studies at Louisiana State University. Dr. Dickson is familiar to HPU, having served as the featured clinician at the university’s first annual Conducting Workshop held in the spring of 2018.

HPU students included Rebekah Barnett, a junior from Frisco majoring in musical education; Taylor Davis, a senior from Alvin majoring in musical education; Madelyn Deviney, a senior from Bulverde majoring in the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy and English; Preston Ezzell, a freshman from Brownwood majoring in engineering science and music education; Joseph Lahmann, a junior from Killeen majoring in business and systems development; Ryan Miles, a junior from Goldthwaite majoring in vocal performance; Amanda Moore, a freshman from Euless majoring in elementary education; and Suzanne Schad, a senior from Briggs majoring in music education.

HPU alumni, faculty and staff included Joy Renée Blackstock ’07; Kayla Chadwick ’19; Jessica Jones ’06; Cathryn Rasbury ’15; Danielle Rosborough ’08, database manager; Beverly Ross ’76; Natalie Stephens ’19; and Katelyn Zimmer ’19. Dr. Rosborough led the group from HPU and performed along with choir members. Also accompanying the group were six members of the HPU University Singers, Gary Butka, Angie Calfa, Ann Harris, Bill Slaymaker, Ann Slaymaker and Brent Rosborough.

Applications are still being accepted for the fall 2019 semester at Howard Payne University ( For more information about HPU, including the wide range of available financial aid options, contact HPU’s Office of Admission at 325-649-8020 or by e-mail at


Cutline: Pictured are members of HPU choirs in front of the Austrian cathedral, Votivkirche.

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