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Furman tenors shine at national competition in Las Vegas

After impressive performances at both state and regional National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) competitions held earlier this year, two Furman University vocalists made the best of opportunities to compete on the national stage. Tyrese Byrd, a junior vocal performance major from Williamston and Bergsvein Toverud, a senior music education major from Lenoir, N.C., competed in the semifinals and finals of the National Student Auditions, part of the 55th NATS competition held June 22-26 in Las Vegas. The tenors won third place in their divisions at the event where they competed among 200 vocalists. Before getting a chance to compete in the semis, the two were required to submit YouTube videos for the preliminary round. (View them here: Toverud | Byrd)  Having made the cut, which included the top 14 in their respective divisions, the tenors matriculated to the live semifinal round where they continued to shine. Only the top three or four singers in each category from the semifinals advanced to the live, national final. “Tyrese and Bergsvein were the only two tenors competing in the college classical competition at this level. This is remarkable considering the size of our music program. It says a lot about the type of student and level of talent we have here, ” Furman Professor of Voice Grant Knox said. Knox believes no other school came away with two finalists at the competition. And besides acknowledging the raw talent students brought to the event, Knox gives a nod to Furman. “These types of successes would not be possible without Furman’s support and encouragement. These students come to Furman because they feel the university values music and the arts. I look forward to celebrating more achievements like these in the years to come,” he said.


For more information, contact Grant Knox at 864.294.3034 and grant.knox@furman.edu.

Midlands residents invited to take part in performance art event

Midlands residents are invited to be a part of a new art performance event to be created for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Burning of Columbia. Created and facilitated by South Carolina artist Candice Ivy, Crossings will be held on Columbia’s Main Street on the evening of Tues., Feb. 17, closing the official commemoration ceremony for the 150th anniversary of the Burning of Columbia. The mission of the performance is to express the collective voice of participants through action and sound, symbolically recalling our inter-connected past with our present experience of local history. During the performance, participants will collaborate with the artist to work symbolically with sound, cloth, water and ash sourced from the remains of two historic homes. The goal will be to collectively create and hold a respectful space that reflects an acknowledgement of history's continual presence within people, place and culture. Anyone, regardless of background, who would like to share their personal story may volunteer to participate. This performance is largely dependent upon the collective and diverse voices of the community to be successful. Narratives can be open in content, but should speak to each individual’s personal experience related to the traces of the Civil War in the South, not excluding stories connected to the range of complexities, sensitivities and divides connected to this shared history. In preparation for the event, volunteers are invited to participate in several activities as a means to share their stories and connect with the artist and each other. In part one of these preparatory meetings, participants are asked to bring any small object that connects them to their story. This performance pays reverential acknowledgement to our collective experiences. All potential participants are asked to bring their stories with openness and respect. Meetings will take place at The Big Apple, located at 1000 Hampton Street in downtown Columbia, S.C., and will be held at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9, 11, 13 and 16. Participants are required to attend both the first and last meetings as well as the performance on the evening of Feb. 17. For more information, email candiceivy@gmail.com. To sign up, visit BurningofColumbia.com. About Columbia Commemorates: Columbia Commemorates is a multi-disciplinary coalition comprised of Midlands and statewide organizations formed to plan and implement a citywide commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Burning of Columbia. Through lectures; tours; film; visual, literary and performing arts; exhibits; public discussion; and large public gatherings, Columbia Commemorates will explore the events of February 17, 1865, as well as the immediate and long-term ramifications of the burning of South Carolina’s capital city. This commemoration is made possible by The Humanities CouncilSC, South Carolina Arts Commission and Chernoff Newman. For more information about the commemoration and a calendar of events, please visit BurningofColumbia.com and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.