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School of Music

Concert Choir Alumni Reunite to Honor Dr. Arpad Darazs

Generations of University of South Carolina Concert Choir Alumni from across the nation will gather in Columbia, SC for a weekend of festivities July 8-9, 2022 to honor the choir’s revered founder, Dr. Arpad Darazs, and mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. 

A Celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Darazs' Birth

Darazs came to the U.S. in 1956 with his wife and children to escape the Soviet invasion of his native Hungary. After earning a doctoral degree in music at Columbia University, he served as a faculty member at the University of South Carolina from 1966 until his death in 1986, devoting himself to the creation and development of the now world-famous Concert Choir. Under Daraz’s leadership, USC Choirs traveled the state and the nation performing both traditional choral repertoire and highly demanding 20th century selections. They also traveled and competed internationally, winning prizes at music festivals including the Bela Bartok 20th Century Chorus Festival in Hungary and the Llangollan International Eisteddfod in Wales, sometimes achieving a perfect score. 

Dr. Darazs’ legacy extends far beyond South Carolina. Alumni of his choral and conducting programs are now scattered around the world, serving as professional musicians, conductors, opera singers and music teachers. All carry with them his passion for music, his devotion to excellence, and a strong grounding in the Kodaly method of choral instruction. And the hundreds of students who benefited directly from his instruction have gone on to pass his wisdom and enthusiasm to thousands more.  

In addition to maintaining Darazs’ standards of musical excellence, his former students have maintained friendships formed during countless hours of rehearsal, travel and performance. Alumni have held a number of gatherings over the years, including a trip to Darazs’ birthplace in Hungary several years ago, and many are looking forward to this year’s event. 

"Alumni devotion to him is unwavering, even 36 years after his death," said organizer Sharon Altman. 

"We continue to testify to the profound effect Dr. Darazs had and continues to have on our lives.”  

Darazs passed away just two months after leading a concert in celebration of Columbia’s Bicentennial in 1986, featuring world-renowned artists including cellist Yo-Yo Ma and operatic soprano Leontyne Price, and a choir of 800 singers drawn from colleges, universities, high schools and community choruses across the state. He lives on in the hearts and minds of Concert Choir alumni and his many friends, colleagues and admirers around the globe.

The alumni reunion will include a musical tribute at Darazs’ burial site in Woodridge Memorial Park in Lexington, SC.

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