In the Loop
Press Release : Oct 14, 2014

Hundreds of High School Singers Gather for 30th Annual UF Invitational Choir Festival

The University of Florida (UF) School of Music will welcome more than 300 singers and choir directors from six choirs across the state for the 30th Annual UF Invitational Choral Festival on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014. The festival, which includes individual choir clinics, master classes and numerous performances, including one featuring a mass choir, will take place throughout the day in the Music Building and in University Auditorium. The entire day’s events are free and open to the public.  

Dr. Russell Robinson, UF professor of music, has billed this year’s festival as a special event. Robinson started the choral festival in the fall of 1985 after discussing the idea with then-department chair, Joel Stegall, and director of choral activities, John Grigsby. 

“I wanted to start a choral festival for high school choirs that was different than what other universities in Florida were doing,” Robinson said. “Many universities invite the top eight or 16 singers from individual choirs to rehearse all-state choir music, but none were inviting whole choirs to campus.” 

Now, for 30 years that format has not changed. The festival became so popular that choirs began requesting to be invited. This year’s event is unique because the directors of the six invited choirs are all Robinson’s former music education students from four decades. The invited choirs and their UF alumni directors are: Bloomingdale High School (Tampa), directed by Jason Locker; Eastside High School (Gainesville), directed by Diana Rollo; The King’s Academy (West Palm Beach), directed by Sonia Santiago; Lake Brantley High School (Altamonte Springs), directed by Carlton Kilpatrick; Largo High School (Largo), directed by Kody Wallace; and Seminole State College (Sanford), directed by Dianna Campbell.

UF School of Music faculty involved in the festival are: Cory Alexander, Ronald Burrichter, Laura Ellis, Elizabeth Graham, Will Kesling, Tony Offerle and Brenda Smith. In addition, Robinson has written a new choral arrangement of There is a Balm in Gilead that will be premiered at the festival. The arrangement is dedicated to this year’s festival and published by Carl Fischer Publishing, New York. 

Schedule of Events:

  • 9-9:40 a.m.: Three choir clinics in the Music Building, Room 101; three choirs rehearse in University Auditorium
  • 9:45-10:35 a.m.: Three choir clinics in the Music Building, Rooms 101, 120 and 121; three choirs rehearse in University Auditorium
  • 10:40-11:35 a.m.: Separate voice master classes in Rooms 101, 120 and 121 and University Auditorium.
  • 12:45-1:45 p.m.: Mass Choir rehearsal in University Auditorium
  • 1:55-3 p.m.: Concert for students by UF Concert Choir, voice and organ faculty, UF students and the UF Africa Choir in University Auditorium
  • 3:10 p.m.: High school choir performances in University Auditorium
  • 4 p.m.: Mass Choir performance in University Auditorium

About the School of Music

The School of Music is one of the University of Florida College of the Arts’ three fully-accredited schools. The School of Music plays an important role in the academic life of the University and the community. The school’s programs provide broad-based instruction in performance, composition, history and literature and music disciplines, through a strong curriculum as well as through professional experiences such as ensembles and internships. UF students also have the opportunity to join more than a dozen music ensembles, including jazz bands, the University Choir, the University Symphony Orchestra and the “Pride of the Sunshine” Fightin’ Gator Marching Band. To learn more, visit

About the College of the Arts

The College of the Arts, previously known as the College of Fine Arts, is one the 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The College of the Arts offers baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its three fully-accredited schools — the School of Art and Art History, School of Music and School of Theatre and Dance. The college is home to the Center for Arts in Medicine, Center for World Arts, Digital Worlds Institute, University Galleries and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. More than 100 faculty members and more than 1,220 students work together daily to engage, inspire and create. The college hosts more than 300 performances, exhibitions and events each year. Faculty and students also exhibit and perform at other local, national and international venues. To learn more, visit

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