Forging Connections a World Away: Philomel Travels to Oman

Posted by Nichole Johnson |

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Philomel-265When Dr. Lynda Hasseler was asked to return to her home state 12 years ago to be guest conductor of the 900-plus-voice South Dakota All-State Choir – the very one that deeply impacted her when she had sung in it as a teenager – she couldn’t help feeling that life had come full circle.

Little did she know, that weekend in 2001 Hasseler would make a connection that would launch a new trajectory – start a fresh circle that would lead Hasseler and 12 elite Capital University vocalists halfway around the world to forge connections of their own through music – the language all cultures have in common.

February 21–22, 2013, Philomel, a vocal chamber ensemble of Capital’s Conservatory of Music, travels with Dr. Hasseler to Muscat, the capital city of the Arab world’s oldest independent state – Oman – to participate in The American International School of Muscat’s 10th annual Festival of Choirs. In celebration of the festival's 10th anniversary, organizers invited an ensemble from the United States to contribute and perform. As section leaders and guest performers, Philomel joins full choral ensembles from 21 American Community and International schools, and academies whose singers represent Abu Dhabi, Amman, Qatar, Bombay, Kuwait, Kenya, India, Jordan, Oman, Tunisia, U.S. and many other cultures around the globe.

TAISM-213Organized by Melanie Brink, director of the TIASM Festival and host choir, and a resident of Muscat, the annual festival unites students from multiple nations into one mass choir for a shared musical, educational and community-building experience under the direction of a guest conductor. 


This year that guest conductor is Capital’s Dr. Hasseler. And while she’ll be 7,574 miles from South Dakota, this will mark the second time Hasseler will conduct Brink’s students. The first time was 12 years ago, when Brink, during her first job as a high school choral director, sent her students to sing in the 2001 South Dakota All State Choir, conducted by Dr. Lynda Hasseler.

Philomel will leave Monday, February 18, for Oman and will spend two days mentoring and rehearsing with students from around the world. The Festival of Choirs is unlike many other gatherings of the sort in that it brings together full choruses to rehearse, perform and learn with and from in a non-competitive environment. Philomel is composed of:


  • Braden Alsnauer, who earned a bachelor's agree in music last May 
  • Anna Huckaba, a senior majoring in music performance with vocal and music theatre emphases 
  • Brian Hupp, a senior majoring in music education with vocal emphasis 
  • John McClain, a senior majoring in music education with a vocal emphasis 
  • Grace Moore, senior majoring in music education with a vocal emphasis 
  • Zachary Pytel, a sophomore majoring in music education with vocal emphasis 
  • Amanda Rhonemus, a senior majoring in music education with a vocal emphasis 
  • Emily Riggin, a senior majoring in music performance with vocal and music theatre emphases 
  • Alissa Ruth, a junior majoring in music education with vocal emphasis 
  • Darita Seth, a senior majoring in music performance with vocal emphasis 
  • Daniel Wagner, a senior majoring in music in performance with vocal emphasis 
  • Dylan Woodring, a junior majoring in music education with vocal emphasis 



Listen to Philomel perform live at the TIASM Festival Concert 10 am February 22.


All activities will be held on TIASM’s campus, which includes the new Bosch Center for the Performing Arts. The 10th Annual TAISM Festival Concert, which also will feature performances by Philomel, will be performed on Friday, February 22, at 10 am Eastern Standard Time (7 pm Oman time). The performance will be streamed live at

Until then, you can experience Oman and the Festival of Choirs along with Philomel by following their blog throughout the trip.




Located in the Columbus, Ohio, neighborhood of Bexley, Capital University is a private, four-year undergraduate institution and graduate school. Capital prepares students for meaningful lives and purposeful careers through a relevant liberal arts core curriculum and deep professional programs. Influenced by its Lutheran heritage, Capital places great emphasis on the free and open exchange of ideas, seeking out diverse perspectives, active participation in society, leadership and service. With a focus on rigor and experiential learning, the University capitalizes on its size, location, and heritage to develop the whole person, both inside and outside the classroom.  



Contact: Nichole Johnson
614-236-6945 (office)
614-440-9158 (cell) 


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