The Tarleton State University Choral Program is preparing to embark on a week-long tour of China where the singers will perform as part of the Xi’an International Choral Festival, July 4-12.

Ahead of the international tour, area residents will have the opportunity to hear the singers at a free preview concert at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Auditorium.

Dr. Troy Robertson, director of choirs at Tarleton, will conduct the singers at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Xi’an International Choral Festival, as well as during a midweek concert and a workshop on western performance practice. The Tarleton vocalists are bringing their best to the Far East, including hymns, spirituals, folk, jazz, modern music and “The Yellow Rose of Texas.”

A highlight performance will be a July 10 concert on the Great Wall of China at Juyong Pass, one of the four most famous passes along the 5,497-mile stone wall.

The choir is composed of Tarleton students, faculty, alumni and Stephenville community members, including Arielle Sword, Stephenville High School choir director, and Travis Lowery, director of music at First United Methodist Church. Kelli Styron, dean of the Tarleton College of Liberal and Fine Arts, and Vicky Johnson, Fine Arts Department head, will accompany the ensemble to China.

Robertson said he is thrilled to have received the invitation to showcase the Tarleton talent. “Our hosts have been very generous in their support as we prepare to leave. We have been thoroughly enjoying our rehearsals, and Tarleton has been so supportive, as well. We are all grateful and loving the opportunity we’ve been afforded. 

“It’s not an everyday occurrence to gather all day on four Saturdays in a row to make music. It’s something very special.”

As part of the stay in China, the Tarleton entourage will explore Xi’an and its ancient city wall and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, visit the terra cotta warriors museum, have excursion atop the Great Wall and tour Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Hutong Rickshaw and the Temple of Heaven.