SWOSU Students to Attend Prestigious Summer Program with Grammy Award Winners

The “Mighty Tau Phi Singers,” comprised of 20 members of Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia in Weatherford have been selected to attend the inaugural U.S. King’s Singers Summer School on June 13-19, 2017,  at DePauw University in Greencastle (IN).

The SWOSU men gained entry to the elite program by audition, according to faculty advisor Sure’ Eloff.

The King’s Singers, a British a cappella men’s ensemble, originated in 1968 at King’s College Cambridge, where the choral scholars studied under the direction of Sir David Wilcox.  Over the course of 48 years, they have made over 150 recordings and earned two Grammys and one Emmy. The King’s Singers plan to host the U.S. residential summer school every two years.

As required, the SWOSU students prepared an a capella folk song – Vive L’amour – a French folk song about brotherly love and lifelong friendships.  They rehearsed weekly and added multiple rehearsals and sectionals as the recording date neared. Taylor Steier, music director for the fraternity, and Eloff, faculty member in the SWOSU Department of Music,  advised and prepared the group and submitted the selection.  Faculty member Vurl Bland engineered and produced the recording.

The guest clinician, King’s Singers tenor Bob Chilcott from 1986 – 1997, now works as a composer and serves as principal guest conductor for the BBC Singers. The residential summer school will cover a wide variety of repertoire with a clear emphasis on the art of close harmony singing.  Preparation for the SWOSU group has already begun as the ensemble must bring a ready-to-perform concert program of 10 pieces in addition to specially selected coursework music. 

“What a great opportunity for our student musicians to work with some of the finest singers in an intensive week-long setting,” said Dr. David Bessinger, chair of the SWOSU Department of Music. “This experience will broaden the students’ skills and musicianship.  I am happy to support this artistic endeavor.”

While at the summer school, the men will stay in on-campus housing, take all meals together and follow a rigorous daily schedule including warm-up/vocal technique sessions led by the King’s Singers, several performances opportunities, informal concerts and a final day gala concert. They will be asssigned a member of the King’s Singers who will mentor them throughout the week.

The 20 men from SWOSU represent six departments outside of the Department of Music, and the majority only study voice as a secondary degree requirement.

The men are already busy working with the College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Sponsored Programs, Department of Music, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Alumni and has a marketing team in place to begin a fiscal campaign to fund this most amazing opportunity.  In total, the SWOSU group must earn at least $27,000.

“Working with an ensemble of the King’s Singers stature is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  They are considered the best in the world at what they do and are passionate about sharing their knowledge and expertise with young singers,” Eloff said. “I am so proud of the Sinfonians and all the hard work they’ve done.”



Home Town

Major / SWOSU

Austin Alexander Hardman

Guymon, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Breydon Cole Renard

Enid, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Joaquin Angelo Martinez

Anadarko, OK

Instrumental Performance

Aaron Christopher Edge

Ardmore, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Josiah Trey Langley

Lawton, OK

Music Therapy

Cherokee Thomas Riddle

Muskogee, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Jesse Lawrence Hadley

Edmond, OK


Anthony Randall Valentine

Oklahoma City, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Jayden Eric Goeringer-Evans

Cordell, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Austin Taylor Smith

Altus, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Matthew Daniel Beebe

Enid, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Devan Neal Bettencourt

Kingfisher, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Davison Nguyen

Oklahoma City, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Noé Ruiz

Marlow, OK

Engineering Technology

Alan Lee Baker

Mustang, OK

Business Finance

Kristopher Daniel Benton

Stroud, OK

Communication Arts

Jackson Alexander Anderson

Enid, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Taylor Vincent Steier

Enid, OK

Instrumental Music Education

Ethan Gage Mazzio

Moore, OK

Business w/ Elective Studies in Music

Douglas Shane Finley

Velma, OK

Parks & Wildlife Law Enforcement

Suré Eloff (faculty advisor)

Cape Town, South Africa

SWOSU Voice Faculty

Tamra Misak (University representative)

Weatherford, OK

SWOSU Counseling Services