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NMSU choral director receives award

Jerry Ann Alt, director of choral activities at New Mexico State University, was presented the Douglas R. McEwen Award for Choral Excellence at the Western Division American Choral Director's Association Conference Feb. 29 in Anaheim, Calif.



Jerry Ann Alt, second from the left, received the Douglas R. McEwen Award for Choral Excellence Feb. 29 from the Arizona State University choral faculty represented by, from left, Brook Larson, Gregory Gentry and David Schildkret. (Courtesy Photo)

"I am greatly honored by this award because it's named after my major professor, Douglas McEwen," Alt said. "I was very fond of McEwen and had great respect for his work. To receive an award given in his name means the world to me."

Alt has been director of choirs at NMSU for 22 years. She conducts three choirs and teaches undergraduate and graduate choral conducting. She regularly conducts major choral works with orchestra, has conducted All-State Choirs in Colorado and Mississippi and serves as guest conductor in various places across the country.

In June 2006, NMSU Choirs was chosen to represent New Mexico at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., as part of New Mexico Day. Alt's choirs have sung masses at the Vatican, San Marcos Basilica in Venice, Italy and at Chartres Cathedral in France. Other international performances include an evening service at Westminster Abbey, the Josquin "Missa Pange Lingua" at Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria and Mozart's "Solemn Vespers" at the Cathedral of Siquenza in Spain.

The award was given to Alt in recognition of her "outstanding artistry, dedication to choral music and commitment to singers."

McEwen was a choral clinician and conductor in cities around the world to great acclaim and conducted more than 60 All-State choruses across the nation. He was assistant director and soloist for the Roger Wagner Chorale, guest conductor of the Minnesota Orchestra and Phoenix Symphony, assistant director of the Meadowbrook Institute and director or Choral Masterworks for America's Youth Concert in Vienna, Austria. He was director of choirs at Arizona State University for many years, including 1981-83 when Alt was a candidate for her doctor of musical arts degree and his graduate assistant.