Topics: Alumni, College of Fine Arts

November 1, 2007

The multiple Grammy-award winning and internationally renowned male choral group, Chanticleer, will make a stop at Ball State University as part of its 30th anniversary celebration. The College of Fine Arts, through its Arts Alive Series, will host Chanticleer at 8 p.m. on Nov. 6 in Sursa Performance Hall.

For one member, this will be a homecoming. Jace Wittig, a baritone from Indianapolis, joined Chanticleer in 2006 after earning a bachelor's degree in vocal performance from Ball State in 2004. Wittig studied voice with Craig Priebe, an associate professor of music performance, who later helped Wittig polish his audition pieces for Chanticleer.

Although Chanticleer is a prestigious group whose great variety accommodates many talents, Wittig said that his experience at Ball State thoroughly prepared him for joining the musical ensemble.

"My learning experience at Ball State was wonderful," said Wittig. "The School of Music is very well-rounded, and the students have access to everything they need to learn and succeed."

According to Wittig, Ball State is small enough to get specialized attention but large enough to provide invaluable opportunities for personal growth.

In his youth, Wittig started his singing career with the Indianapolis Children's Choir, which later led to participation in University Singers, Chamber Choir and Opera Theatre while in college.

Ball State's School of Music gives students strong enough communication skills to process all thoughts when performing and practicing, such as refined listening skills and exploring the meaning behind a musical composition, Wittig said.

Wittig said that the faculty at the School of Music also gave him motivation to explore more prestigious opportunities.

"My voice teacher, Dr. Craig Priebe, had a huge influence on me," Wittig said. "He was my life coach and motivated me to seek new opportunities."

Wittig said he is excited to come back to Ball State. He wants students to form the "if he can do it, I can do it" mentality and see that they, too, can be part of something great after graduation.

"It's reassurance for the students," Wittig said. "It makes them believe that they are in the correct program and are receiving a top-notch education and exposure."

Chanticleer spends six months out of the year touring everywhere from Muncie to Europe and Japan. The other six months are devoted to rehearsing new music, in-school educational activities, performing an extensive series of concerts for their local audiences and recording in the San Francisco Bay area, where the 12-member group is based.

"Our Bay-area concert series and work is a very important part of our job and the series comprises around 30 of the 120 or so concerts we do per season," Wittig said.

For advance tickets, contact the Sursa Hall box office 765-285-5581. Ticket cost for adults is $35 and student cost is $15.

For more information, contact the College of Fine Arts at 765-285-5495.