As conductor, pedagogue and scholar, Sandra Snow is widely acknowledged as one who brings singers of all ages and abilities to artful performance through an understanding of the music and its context in the world around them. She is director of Choral Programs and professor of choral conducting at the Michigan State University College of Music.
The MSU College of Music has so many opportunities for campus singers – faculty, staff, students and community members – to sing in choirs. Over many years, my colleagues and I have witnessed singers from all around this area join a choir and find personal wellbeing through participation. While I am extremely proud of the advanced choirs we have that include only music majors, it often occurs to us that many people may not realize that there are official MSU choirs that are open to all students and others.
Spartans who have sung in those choirs report that singing in a choir helps them cope with work and school demands, and it provides a welcoming community to form friendships. Did you know that singing in a group reduces blood pressure and calms heart rate? A win-win!
Many singers in our choirs have sung in high school and community choirs. While doing so is helpful, it is not a requirement for all choirs. The Choral Union, for example, welcomes all community members including faculty, staff and students, and presents a chance to sing in a symphonic choir that performs with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and MSU orchestras. Meeting weekly from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays in Room 147 of the Communication Arts and Sciences Building, the semester begins with auditions at 6 p.m., Sept. 6, followed by the first rehearsal at 7 p.m. Our enthusiastic group of experienced members are always welcoming to new singers.
For current students who major in something outside of the College of Music, there are three places where their voices are welcome:
- Campus Choir meets 3-3:50 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Music Building and includes soprano, alto, tenor and bass voicing;
- Viridis meets 4:10-5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Music Building and includes soprano 1, soprano 2, alto 1 and alto 2 voicing;
- Singing Spartans meets 4:10-5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays in the Music Building and includes tenor 1, tenor 2, baritone and bass voicing.
No auditions are required for the student choirs! Vocal placements – the part you sing – will take place during the first class.
I am aware of my bias when it comes to choir singing. I love it, and I have devoted my career to it! But you need not take my word alone. Here are just two quotes provided us by MSU students who participated in our choirs.
“Singing in Viridis has been an anchor in my time at MSU. Going to rehearsal is what I look forward to all week. Such a good vibe and fun music!”
“Singing Spartans has been a blast. We laugh. A lot. And Doc (the conductor) makes mean burgers on Adams Field after rehearsal.”
It is easy to see that while we take our singing seriously, we have a lot of fun in our choirs while also bringing personal joy and adding to our strong sense of community here at MSU. I am excited for another year of Spartan singing!