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Capital University News, California State University, Sacramento

April 25, 2005

Bringing campus and community together is Kendrick's forte

If the topic is choral music in Sacramento, there is a good chance that professor Donald Kendrick has something to do with it.

Photo of: Donald Kendrick
Photo of: Donald Kendrick

Kendrick conducts the University Chorus, Concert Choir and the Chamber Choir as director of Choral Activities at Sacramento State. He heads the University's Graduate Degree Program in Choral Conducting, a program he initiated in 1986. He is also the founding conductor of the 180-voice Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra, director of music at Sacramento's Sacred Heart Church and co-founder and previous artistic director of the Sacramento Children's Chorus.

His merging of the on- and off-campus choral community was recognized formally by the University this year when Kendrick was honored with the University's Outstanding Community Service Award for the College of Arts and Letters.

"I was very flattered, and a little overwhelmed, to have President Gonzalez present me the award in its inaugural year," Kendrick says.

The award "recognizes outstanding service to the community during the prior five years," but Kendrick's been at it more than 20.

Shortly after landing the position of choral director at Sacramento State in 1985, Kendrick found the University's performance spaces more acoustically suited for the sounds of musical instruments than the massed human voice. It didn't take him long to discover that downtown Sacramento's Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament at 11th and K streets offered just the setting and sound he desired.

A bit of convincing and a lot of promotion later, the first University choir under the direction of Kendrick performed a Mozart mass to an audience of 1,200 at the cathedral. "From that point, my mission and goal became connecting the University to the community," Kendrick says.

Kendrick's created a regional tradition with his goal of outreach. For the last 20 years, he's led the Sacramento State choirs in the overwhelmingly successful Procession of Carols holiday concert. This annual December event at Sacred Heart Church at 39th and J streets features innovative and traditional carols, candlelit processions and an audience sing-along. The performances sell out year after year.

Kendrick has also created a tradition of travel with his choirs. Last year he took members of the Sacramento State choirs and Sacramento Choral Society on a pan-European adventure. Forty-two Sacramento State students sang with other choir members for audiences of thousands in Munich, Vienna, Prague and Budapest, where the group recorded its CD European Horizons.

Asia is next on Kendrick's choir travel agenda following an invite to represent California in the American Celebration of Music in China in 2006. Kendrick plans to include nearly 200 performers and supporters on the tour, including about 50 Sacramento State students.

Closer to home, the University's choirs under the direction of Kendrick are set to perform their annual Choralfest at the Mondavi Center, marking a first-time appearance at the venue, at 8 p.m., Sunday, May 1. The concert will feature about 300 singers and instrumentalists in a program "celebrating the choral art."

According to Kendrick, the evening will include the West Coast premiere of American composer Rene Clausen's Memorial, a cantata for chorus and orchestra written for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and commissioned by the American Choral Director's Association.

The premiere will feature the University Orchestra and will be conducted by professor Leo Eylar. Tickets are $20 general, $10 for students and seniors, are available through the Mondavi Center Box Office at 1-866-754-2787. More information can be found at the choir website,


California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •
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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 •