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Drake series to explore issues of home to preview choral concert

January 22, 2010
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Lori Chesser

Drake University's choral program will kick off a series of presentations on issues of immigration, homelessness and housing on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

The first presentation will address the legal and economic aspects of immigration, featuring attorney Lori Chesser, chair of the immigration department of Davis Brown Law Firm, and David Swenson, lecturer of economics at Iowa State University.

The free, public talk will be held from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in the Performing Arts Hall of Harmon Fine Arts Center, 2505 Carpenter Ave.

The series will provide context for an upcoming performance by Drake Choir, Chamber Choir and Drake University/Community Chorus.

The concert, "Where You Belong," is designed to help singers and listeners connect to key societal issues through music and to elicit a spirit of service in the community.

"Choral music is an especially important vehicle for helping people to understand that they are part of something much larger than themselves," said Aimee Beckmann-Collier, Drake professor of conducting.

"By singing texted music from a variety of eras, styles and countries, singers and their audiences are made more aware of the common aspirations of humans across space and time."

The concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, in Sheslow Auditorium in Old Main, 2507 University Ave.

The presentation series will continue through March 2 on Tuesday evenings from 5:15-6:15 p.m. in Sheslow Auditorium. The speakers and topics for discussion are as follows:

  • Feb. 2 – "Youth Homelessness," by Andrew Allen, community investment consultant at Principal Financial Group
  • Feb. 9 – "The Postville Story and the Demographics of Immigration," by Sister Mary McCauley, pastoral administrator of St. Bridget Church in Postville, Iowa, and Mark Grey, professor of anthropology at the University of Northern Iowa
  • Feb. 16 – "Safe and Affordable Housing," by Sister Stella Neill, founder and director of Anawim Housing in Des Moines
  • Feb. 23 – "The Refugee Experience," by Sol Varisco, program director of outreach services at Catholic Charities in Des Moines
  • March 2 – Volunteer Fair, featuring 15 local agencies that provide help for immigrants, refugees and individuals dealing with housing issues