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Champlain Valley Oratorio presents "The Great American Songbook"

PLATTSBURGH, NY (March 26, 2008) - On Saturday, April 12 at 8 p.m., the Champlain Valley Oratorio Society and the SUNY Plattsburgh Choral Union, under the direction of Dr. Karen Becker, will present "The Great American Songbook" featuring the music of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, and Cole Porter.

The concert takes place in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium, Hawkins Hall, on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus, located at the corner of Cornelia and Broad streets. Tickets can be purchased at the door, from CVOS members, at the Corner-Stone Bookshop or at Myers Pharmacy in Plattsburgh. Prices are $17 for general admission, $12 for students and senior citizens and $5 for children under the age of 12.

The concert includes a variety of well-known songs including "Stepping Out With My Baby," "Blue Skies" and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" and features soloists and ensembles taken from the chorus.

"It's great to revisit some of the music I grew up listening to at home," states Becker.  "The concert offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase the talent we have in this community chorus. It's been fun to be able to give the chorus members the chance to step out of their comfort zone and perform as a soloist or in an ensemble."

Accompanying the chorus are guest artists AhYoung You (piano), Russ Flynn (bass) and Peter Fiore (drums). All three are pursuing music degrees: Fiore and You attend SUNY Plattsburgh, and Flynn studies at the University of Vermont.

Among the Cole Porter favorites, two in particular are worth noting. Plattsburgh residents Dave Hill and Jim Waldman entertain the audience with their version of "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" and local jazz singer Eileen Egan Mack delivers the beautiful ballad, "Under My Skin."

Three SUNY Plattsburgh students, Zack Bissell, Tyler Rebello and Steve Hebert, most recently known as the three gangsters from the theater department's popular production of "Guys and Dolls," are featured, as are Rebecca Pethes and Tony Galloro, who sang a memorable duet in last season's concert.  The Baker sisters, Danielle and Darlene, sing the ever-popular Irving Berlin song, "Sisters."

In her first season as music director, Becker is clearly enjoying being back in front of a chorus again.

"I've always enjoyed the community chorus experience, especially here, where students and community members have the opportunity to sing together," said Becker.

Becker, who is in her third year as assistant professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, continues to shine as one of the region's most popular performing artists.  Her recital series "Karen Becker and Friends" has expanded to include visiting guest performers as well as functioning as a showcase for local and regional artists. Becker's recent highlights include: serving as musical director for "Guys and Dolls" at SUNY Plattsburgh, appearing as a guest artist on the Hill and Hollow concert series, collaborating with several artists and students from the Meadowmount Conservatory and appearing as a soloist with the Champlain Valley Oratorio Society. In addition to giving recent recitals in New York City and Denver, Colo., Becker traveled to Cairo, Egypt, in November where she was a featured artist on the Ewart Hall Concert series.

Becker holds degrees in piano performance from the Eastman School of Music and the Juilliard School, as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Wisconsin. An active concert pianist, she has performed in venues across the country as well as serving as conductor and assistant conductor for such groups as the Colorado Symphony Chorus. She has worked as music director and conducted many shows, on tour, at the Lake Dillon Theater, the Garner Galleria Theater, and at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

For more information, call 518-564-2243 or visit www.champlainvalleyoratorio.com . The event is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts administered locally through the North Country Cultural Center for the Arts. It is sponsored by the SUNY Plattsburgh Student Association through the Campus Arts Council and the Music Department. North Country Public Radio is the official media sponsor for this event.

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