The Southwestern College vocal music department kicks off its year of performances Monday, Sept. 30, with the 10th annual High School Invitational Choral Festival.

This year’s festival will include over 170 high school students from seven different schools singing together with the college’s A Cappella Choir.

The day of activities culminates with a free public concert at 4:30 p.m., in the Richardson Performing Arts Center in the Christy Administration Building on the campus of Southwestern College.

The Festival Choir will perform “Cloth of Glory” by David L. Brunner, “Veni Sancte Spiritus” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and “I Don’ Feel No Ways Tired” a traditional spiritual arranged by Stacey V. Gibbs.

In addition, the A Cappella Choir and SC Singers will perform several pieces, and there will be a special guest appearance by the Student Loans, a jazz combo made up of Southwestern College students and alumni.

“The purpose of the day is to provide the high school students with training and the opportunity to perform the songs that they will need to know in order to audition for this year’s district and all-state choirs,” says David Gardner, Southwestern College director of choirs.

“The fact that they’re able to perform these selections before the auditions gives them a decided edge, and the participating schools have a very good track record of their students being selected for the honor choirs.”

Gardner is also enthusiastic about the 4:30 p.m. concert.

“The sound of 200 singers performing together is something very special.  There’s a power and a synergy with that many voices that makes for a thrilling performance.”

Area high school choirs participating in Monday’s festival include: Arkansas City High School, Chance Gates, director; Caney Valley Jr. Sr. High, Jami Messner, director; Central of Burden High School, Jayme Hayes, director; Douglass High School, Sarah Davidson, director; Wichita Heights High School, Mark Walker, director; Wichita West High School, Matthew Webber, director; and Winfield High School, Matt Berthot, director.