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Abbeville native raises her voice in concert with the Lander Singers

April 04, 2009
The talent that fills Lander University's choirs and instrumental ensembles, comes from various types of performers. Most of these musicians are students, but others are Lander faculty and staff. Still others are community members. Of the students, some are music majors, but others are studying topics from across Lander's curriculum.

Such is the case with senior psychology major and Abbeville native Lauren Cann, who will be performing during the free Lander University Singers concert Tuesday, April 7, at 8 p.m. in Lander's Cultural Center Auditorium. Under the direction of Dr. Paul Criswell, Lander professor of music, the concert will feature performances by all Lander choirs - University Singers, Old Main Singers and Camarata. Cann is a member of all three.

Cann recalled her interest in music starting at an early age.

"My dad is a musician, and he got me started with piano lessons when I was in the second grade," Cann said. "But even before that I got involved in theatre. I sang my first solo in a church play. That was when my parents realized, 'hey she can sing, she has a voice.' Then I took voice lessons and got more involved in theatre."

Being from Abbeville, Cann found an easy home for her theatrical pursuits with the Abbeville Opera House, where she began performing when she was in the first grade. There she has appeared in such plays as "Oklahoma," "Little Women" and, most recently, "Little Mary Sunshine." She also made her way to the Greenwood Community Theatre where she performed in, "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Honky Tonk Angels."

Cann transferred to Lander in her sophomore year and began singing alto with the Lander choirs.

At Lander, Cann became active in the Baptist Student Ministry and joined Chi Sigma, the campus Christian sorority. Now president of Chi Sigma, Cann works with the group on various service projects. Emphasizing counseling as a psychology major, she has interned at Crossroads Pregnancy Center and with the Baptist Student Ministry. Cann is also a student worker in Lander's Office of Admissions and a Lander Presidential Ambassador.

Still Cann cites her experience with the University Singers, Old Main Singers and Camarata as highlights of her time at Lander.

"I grew up being involved in choral activities," said Cann, "but the experience with Singers has allowed me to perform more challenging music. Working with Dr. Criswell has been great. He is one of my favorite professors. I'm very thankful he's here."

Cann will graduate from Lander in May. She plans to work in youth ministry or college level ministry for at least a year, after which she plans to attend seminary.

The April 7 concert will be Cann's last with the Lander choirs as a student.

The concert will feature music by Felix Mendelssohn and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Within performances by the three choirs, there will be two student quartet performances and one duet. Claire Duffle, a Lander student from Honea Path, is also directing a piece by Randall Thompson for the concert. Dr. Robert Kelley, Lander assistant professor of music, is piano accompanist.

The concert is free and open to the public. For further information call the Fine Arts box office at 864-388-8800. Information about other upcoming Lander arts events is available on the university's Web site,