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Musical variety will blend for showcase at UT

What happens when a variety of musical groups practice separately for a big show, then try to put it all together the night before?

Tonight's practice will tell. After months of working on their own, seven church, student and professional choirs, bands, dance groups and musical soloists will get together to practice for the fifth annual University of Tampa (UT) music showcase, which will be at 8:15 p.m. Friday in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center Playhouse.

The event is part of the monthlong "Bay-thoven Festival" spearheaded by the Florida Orchestra and also culminates the inauguration of UT's ninth president, David Ruffer, on Friday.

The show will feature a variety of ensembles from the University of Tampa music department, along with the Mostly Pops Orchestra and other musical groups.

During the first half, performances by the UT Select Winds, the Travellers singing group and UT dance instructor Susan Taylor and partner Joi Dupree will be featured.

After a brief intermission, the UT Collegiate Chorale, members of the Sacred Heart Choir, the Clifton Street Singers and the Mostly Pops Orchestra will present Beethoven's Choral Fantasy.

The work was premiered in 1808 as part of a large program that featured Beethoven's Fifth and Sixth symphonies, said UT professor of music David Isele. "It's the first performance of this piece, to our knowledge, in this area," Isele said.

About 115 people are involved in the presentation of Choral Fantasy, Isele said.

This year, though, Isele will have the chance to be an observer rather than a participant. This year he decided not to play an integral role in the production; in the past few years he has either sung or directed.

This year, he helped the collegiate chorale practice and helped with some of the planning.

But the planning hasn't been easy. Logistical problems have made it impossible for every group in the 90-minute show to practice together, said UT music professor David Isele.

"I'm always happy when these sorts of events are over," Isele said. "It's like the Olympics _ you've practiced and prepared, now it's time to just do it."