The Jacobs School of Music announced the name of the individual who will be taking on one of the school’s most beloved ensembles the Singing Hoosiers on May 17. Steve Zegree will join the faculty this fall as the Pam and Jack Burks Professor of Music and director of the legendary ensemble.
It’s really been so wonderfully, wonderfully positive. In just the past 24 hours, I think I’m now approaching four or five hundred emails. And people are really congratulating Indiana [University] on making a choice that’s probably a little bold, I think, for lack of a better word. Certainly future-looking, and something that might not be what people expected.
Zegree has held his position at Western Michigan University for over 30 years. His vocal jazz ensemble Gold Company has received numerous awards from Downbeat Magazine, and has toured the world, often times performing Zegree’s own arrangements of everything from classical music to pop and jazz.
Zegree’s appointment represents a step in a new direction for the Jacobs School, one that adds vocal jazz to the wealth of other performance areas.
To add this component that is a really relatively new but yet vital part of music education in the choral world and in the jazz world, to make a statement like that, to say that Indiana wants to develop that area, is a really forward-looking move on their part.
Zegree takes the reins of the Singing Hoosiers following the retirement of Michael Schwartzkopf this past year. He says that while honoring the history of the Singing Hoosiers will be an important aspect of his work, there are ways the ensemble can look to the future.
Probably, the ensemble is at some sort of crossroads. I don’t necessarily have the knowledge yet. I mean we’re talking on the second day of my appointment, so I’ll have a learning curve certainly to study and get my head around the great traditions of the Singing Hoosiers and see where the current students may like the ensemble to move and find what are the important traditions to them and proceed in a way that causes us to, first of all and most importantly, achieve the highest possible musical standards in the contemporary idioms.
And fans of the Singing Hoosiers can be assured that at the top of Zegree’s priorities, are entertainment and great music.
In terms of my personal style, I love to have fun. And I love for the students to have fun, meaning if we have some great artistic creativity and high standards for the music making, then we also want our audiences to have a great time when they come and attend our concerts.