South Bend Symphonic Choir to Sing at the White House

South Bend Symphonic Choir with Conductor Marvin CurtisSouth Bend Symphonic Choir with Conductor Marvin Curtis

Marvin Curtis, Dean of the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at Indiana University South Bend, had a vision of directing a holiday performance of the South Bend Symphonic Choir at the White House. With faith, persistence and help from the office of Senator Evan Bayh, his vision has become a reality.

Curtis will direct the choir in a 90 minute concert on the State Floor of the White House on December 21.  The performance is part of a wide range of Christmas festivities that take place at the White House each year.

Curtis began working on the idea in June, reaching out to Senator Evan Bayh’s constituent services team in South Bend. After submitting an audition audio tape and filing the appropriate paperwork, Dr. Curtis received confirmation of the performance in a telephone call from the White House on December 10. 

“I was thrilled to hear that the South Bend Symphonic Choir received their richly-deserved invitation to perform at the White House during the holiday season,” Bayh said. “I know the choir will represent South Bend and our entire state well, and I am looking forward to hearing the positive reviews.”

Curtis agreed to become the Director of the South Bend Symphonic Choir shortly after arriving in South Bend to begin his position as Dean of the Raclin School of the Arts at IU South Bend in 2008.  Curtis came to South Bend from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina where he was Artistic and Musical Director. In 1993, he became the first African American commissioned to write a work for a presidential inauguration. “City on the Hill” was performed at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton. Already in his brief time at IU South Bend he has introduced new programs, concerts and increased outreach to the community.

The Symphonic Choir of South Bend was founded in 1967 and in 1975 became the ensemble-in-residence at IU South Bend.