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December 11   -   Norman Lebrecht - Slipped disc

Alarm over the survival of historic choir college

A correspondent reports: Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, has been at the heart of American choral music for 90 years. Our choirs sang on Disney’s “Fantasia”, and with virtually every major conductor and orchestra. It appears regularly with the New York Phil and Philly Orchestra, and many touring orchestras such as Berliner Philharmoniker, Vienna Phil &c. The school was purchased by Rider University (in nearby Lawrenceville) in the 1990’s after falling on hard times. Rider promised to always allow us to keep our individual identity, our own campus, and our mission of furthering choral music, sacred music, music education, vocal/organ/piano performance in the USA and beyond. Unfortunately, the new president of Rider, Gregory Dell’omo, is now proposing to sell the Princeton campus, absorbing Westminster onto the main Lawrenceville campus. This would likely be a death sentence for the school. Our identity is based upon us operating as a independent institution. Moving us to the other campus would make enrolment take a dive, upset many donors that continue to fund the school, and reduce the education quality. The most upsetting part of this is that Westminster is very healthy in both enrolment and fundraising. We have been meeting and exceeding both goals in recent years. Rider University, however, is in such horrible financial shape that it needs a massive injection of cash, or will face bankruptcy in 2018 or 2019. A Save Westminster petition has opened here. Spread the word.

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