CMU concert choir looking to increase numbers, visibility on campus
Two years ago, the Central Michigan University concert choir sang in China and this upcoming spring the group will be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Auditions with Director of Choral Activities Dr. Nina Nash-Robertson for the spring semester class are currently taking place and will be for a few more weeks.
“All you have to do is sing a song, a minute-long piece of music,” said Spencer Harrison, concert choir public relations director. “It can be anything.”
The Macomb junior said potential auditioners do not have to be a music major to participate and can sing anything, from popular songs or even Happy Birthday or Jingle Bells, to demonstrate singing ability.
He said the group, which usually has closer to 100 members, currently has about 60 members due to seniors graduating last semester. Newer students weren’t able to find audition information online properly, Harrison said.
“We think it’s because of the new Central Link website,” he said. “We think people weren’t able to find the choir’s website online.”
He said the group puts up fliers to promote their free concerts, of which they hold many every semester and is working to get their concert listings on brochures on campus, too.
“We’re just trying to get our group out there in the heads of the student body,” he said. “We have promos on the radio. Other than that, we don’t have much out there.”
The group holds a few holiday concerts, one in November and a Christmas Yuletide concert in December, every semester.
He said a change he has seen at the concerts is with attendance due to the lower number of choir participants.
“The more people we have, we will have more family and friends come,” he said.
Nash-Robertson said she had 30 fewer auditions between summer 2011 and summer 2012 for Concert Choir.
“This is the first summer that I had a smaller number of people than the summer before,” she said.
She said these auditions occur in the summer prior to coming to CMU for incoming freshmen who are non-music majors, but if students are music majors, they are already accepted into the class.
In September of 2011, Nash-Robertson said she had 95 students in the Concert Choir class.
“In September 2012, I had 65 students,” she said.
She said the good thing about the 65 students in her class was that they are a close-knit and committed group.
“They’ve gotten to know one another more,” she said. “Because of that, those in choir individually feel more important and realize how he or she is to the sound, group and to the learning.”
She said the class is very informative and that students’ voices improve dramatically, even over the course of a few weeks.
“We teach them how to read music better,” she said. “For the students who are non-music majors, coming in to sing for an hour four times a week is a great break from their day.”
Walled Lake freshman Angela Turner recently auditioned for the concert choir class.
“We have more openings now so it’s a better time to be auditioning,” Turner said.
Turner said she was involved in choir in high school and wanted more of a challenge.
“I would like to expand my vocal skills in an ensemble,” she said.
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