HAMPTON — The Franklin Chorale, a community choral performance ensemble, has named Jesse Bunge of Hampton as its new director.

Auditions for the 2013-14 Chorale will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 12-13, in the vocal music room at Hampton-Dumont High School.

Auditions, open to all area vocalists beyond high school, will cover range, voice quality and sight reading ability. Those auditioning may bring a prepared solo. An accompanist will be provided.

Rehearsals will be Wednesday evenings after area church activities. The Christmas concert is set for Sunday, Dec. 8. For information, contact Bunge at jbunge@hdcsd.org.

Bunge is director of choral activities for grades 7-12 in the Hampton-Dumont Community School District. A graduate of Luther College, he has continued the tradition of excellence in the vocal music department at H-Din his first year of teaching.

He is an assistant director of the River City Barbershop Chorus based in Mason City, and a member of Una Vocis, a semi-professional choral ensemble in Mason City.

The Franklin Chorale, celebrating its 35th consecutive year this fall, has only had three previous directors.

The Chorale was founded in the fall of 1978 by Mary Lou Semler of Hampton.

The semi-professional ensemble was guest performers with the Waterloo Symphony under the direction of Joe Guinta. The Chorale was also chosen via taped auditions to perform at the North Central American Choral Directors Association (ncacda) conference in Minneapolis.

Mark Lehmann, associate professor of voice at Wartburg College, was the second director. He taught vocal music at Hampton-Dumont High School, and under his tenure the Chorale performed a recital required for his masters degree in conducting through the University of Iowa.

In 2012, he returned to conduct a community choir performance of Handel’s “Messiah,” sponsored by the Franklin Chorale and the Franklin County Arts Council.

Bonnie Stewart, Hampton, was the most recent director. A Luther College graduate, she recently retired from teaching vocal music at H-D.

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