By Zach Palermo
Those who love to sing but chose a different major can still audition for a spot in Choral Union, even though the group has now split into separate men’s and women’s choirs.
Dr. Christopher Mathews, associate professor of music and chairman of the music department, made the change at the end of last semester.
“The creation of new choral and instrumental ensembles is one step in providing more opportunities for students to be involved regardless of their schedule, past experiences, or musical skills,” Mathews said.
Mathews also discussed how the split was part of a more long-term plan for the music department.
“We [Union’s music department] developed a plan to increase the size and quality of the choral program … Our goal is to work with these groups over the next several years until they have identities of their own and are sustainable … We will then create a new mixed chorus, thus having four separate choirs: Choral Union, Men’s Choir, Women’s Choir, University Singers (and Proclamation, whose membership is taken from University Singers).”
Mathews said he believes it is too soon to comment on the effectiveness of the split, but “both choirs have solid numbers and they are already singing well.”
Junior music major William Harman says student reaction to the split has been positive.
“It’s very nice … to be able to work on a small scale.”
Harman also notes the benefits of splitting the choir, saying that the split is more beneficial to the typical gender ratio in Union’s mixed choirs, because far more women tend to sign up than men and will usually drown out the men while singing.
David Dennis, professor of music and former conductor of Choral Union, conducts the women’s choir while Mathews conducts the men’s choir.
Harman says that the two new choirs are still open without auditions to all who are interested in joining.
Harman also encourages every student who has a desire to sing to join the new men’s and women’s choirs.
“We love to sing with people,” Harman said. “The more, the better.”