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Pahel in Patagonia

Barry McNamara
Monmouth College assistant professor of music Tim Pahel is no stranger to road trips. In his role as director of choral activities, he has taken the Chorale on Spring Break trips each of the past two years.

This summer, Pahel again traveled in the name of music, but this time without the college’s premier vocal ensemble in tow. He attended the 9th World Symposium on Choral Music in Puerto Madryn, which is located in the Patagonia region of Argentina.

The symposium is held every three years, with past locations including Copenhagen, Tokyo and Minneapolis. Performing at this year’s conference were choirs from all over the world, including the Choeur National des Jeunes from France, the Klemetti Institute Chamber Choir from Finland, and the University of Philippines Madrigal Singers.

“We learned about music and performance styles from many different countries and were able to talk to world-renowned composers about their work and influences,” said Pahel. “It was a fantastic and invaluable experience.”

In the 1860s, Welsh settlers first arrived to inhabit the Patagonia region and brought with them choral singing, which has remained a strong cultural identity there. Organizers touted Puerto Madryn as “a small city with a big heart.” Before reaching Puerto Madryn, Pahel enjoyed three days seeing the sights in and around Buenos Aires.

In addition to his duties at Monmouth College, Pahel is the director of the Galesburg Community Chorus and is also a member of Nova Singers, a small and highly select professional choir composed of singers from western Illinois and eastern Iowa. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University, a master’s degree from the University of Illinois, and is currently completing his doctorate at the University of Iowa. While a student at Iowa, he conducted Camerata, one of the university’s auditioned choral ensembles.

An active member of the American Choral Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, the Illinois Music Educators Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Pahel is a frequent adjudicator for high school solo and ensemble contests as well as a clinician for large group contests and festivals.