The Hope College Symphonette will be touring the Midwest during its annual spring break tour this year with performances in Illinois and Wisconsin between Thursday, March 12, and Monday, March 16.

The college's Chapel Choir will be traveling abroad two months later for its tour, visiting South Africa in May.

The Symphonette will perform in Wheaton, Ill., on Thursday, March 12; in Park Ridge, Ill., on Friday, March 13; in Hingham, Wis., on Sunday, March 15; and in South Holland, Ill., on Monday, March 16. Linda Dykstra, soprano and associate professor of music, will accompany the group on the tour as soloist.

A few weeks after its return, the Symphonette will close its 2008-09 season with a concert in Holland, performing with the college's Orchestra on Wednesday, April 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel.  Admission to the concert will be free.

For the Chapel Choir, the tour in South Africa in May has been scheduled in lieu of a March tour within the United States.

The tour will run Saturday, May 9, through Tuesday, May 19.  The performance itinerary will include performances at churches, two high schools, an AIDS clinic and an inner-city ministry, and with the Stellenbosch University Choir, in communities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Soweto and Stellenbosch.  Between performances the choir members will tour the communities they are visiting as well as a number of other sites.

In advance of the tour, the choir will present its annual "Home" concert in Holland on Monday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Holland. Admission will be free.

The choir's performances preceding the tour will also include Hudsonville Reformed Church on Sunday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. and Grace Episcopal Church in Port Huron on Sunday, April 26, at 4 p.m.

The Chapel Choir was organized in 1929 and began touring annually in 1953. In addition to touring extensively in the United States and Canada, the choir has made a European tour seven times, most recently in May 2005.

The members are selected by audition. The choir is directed by Brad Richmond, who is a professor of music and director of choral activities at Hope.

The Symphonette was organized in 1953. The group has toured coast-to-coast in the United States, and has also performed in two provinces in Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The Symphonette last traveled abroad in May 2007, touring Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.

The Symphonette's members are selected each year from the college symphony orchestra. The Symphonette is directed by Richard Piippo, associate professor of music and director of orchestral activities at Hope.

The Chapel Choir and Symphonette each maintain active local performance schedules. Both groups have also made numerous radio and television appearances, including the nationally televised "Hour of Power" from Garden Grove Church in California. Both groups are also featured in Hope's nationally broadcast Christmas Vespers program each December. The Symphonette was honored by being chosen as one of only four orchestras from around the country invited to perform during the 2007 National Conference of the American String Teachers Association.