Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to the 2014-2015 Year!

Audition sign up sheets will be posted on the Choral Bulletin Board in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center by 2:00pm on Tuesday, September 2.

First year students should not schedule a choral audition during mandatory orientation activities. Please read your orientation schedule carefully to avoid any conflicts.

Signing up for an audition is a two-part process:
  1. Schedule an audition time. Auditions are scheduled in six-minute appointments beginning Thursday evening. SCHEDULE THE EARLIEST TIME THAT YOU ARE AVAILABLE. We simply cannot hear everyone sing on Sunday and Monday. When possible, do not leave large gaps of time in the schedule.
  2. Complete the online registration form, found here.
Don't forget the optional Audition Prep Class with Sheila Bristow on Wednesday night, September 4. Drop-in coachings are available from 6:30-8:30pm in the Choir Room. Cost is $5 per student.

See you this weekend! We're looking forward to hearing you sing!

Dr. Richard Nance, Director of Choral Activities
Professor Lauren Whitham, Associate Director of Choral Activities

Choral Audition Information (New Student)

Welcome to PLU! We hope you’ll find PLU a wonderful place to live and learn, with outstanding faculty, students, and renowned academic programs. Our music program is no exception: we have the reputation for one of the most outstanding programs in the nation, and our rehearsal and performance facilities are some of the finest in the country.
This year, Dr. Brian Galante is on sabbatical, and we are delighted to welcome Lauren Whitham as Visiting Associate Director of Choral Activities. Professor Whitham comes to us after a stellar career of teaching in the public schools, and she has teaching experience at Western Washington University.  Professor Whitham is a native of Tacoma and a PLU grad--we welcome her to our faculty!

Student choral ensembles at PLU include:
  • Choir of the West, a mixed chorus of 40-50 members (primarily juniors and seniors) rehearses Monday thru Thursday, 3:40-5:10 PM. Conducted by Dr. Richard Nance.
  • University Chorale, a mixed chorus of 40-50 members (primarily freshmen and sophomores) also rehearses Monday thru Thursday, 3:40-5:10 PM. Conducted by Professor Lauren Whitham.
  • University Singers, our women’s chorus of 50-60 members from all class ranks, meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 1:45-3:15 PMConducted by Professor Lauren Whitham.
  • University Men's Chorus, 16-24 members from all class ranks, rehearses Tuesday and Thursday, 1:45-3:15 PMConducted by Dr. Richard Nance.
  • The Chapel Choir is comprised of about 30 members and sings regularly for University Chapel. Chapel Choir meets for rehearsal on Tuesday evenings, 6:00-7:30 PMConducted by Dr. Paul Tegels.
All groups, with the exception of the Chapel Choir, require audition. Beginning on Tuesday, September 2, you will be able to sign up for an audition time in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center (signs in the lobby will show you where to go to sign up).  

Auditions will be held on:

Thursday, September 4 (6:00-9:00p)
Friday, September 5 (9:30a-12:30p, 1:00-5:00p)
Sunday, September 6 (2:00-6:00p)
Monday, September 7 (12:30-5:00p)

The auditions will take place in the Mary Baker Russell Music Center, room 306.

We require a six-minute audition, and we try to make it as user-friendly and stress free as possible. The choral faculty (Dr. Nance and Professor Whitham) will hear you sing, along with Dr. James Brown, Chair of Vocal Studies. You will be asked to sing a solo piece—either something you may have worked on with a voice teacher or for solo and ensemble when you were in high school, or a simple hymn or carol. A professional accompanist will be provided, and we will have hymnals for you if you need one. Whatever you choose to sing, please be sure to show us the full range and expression of your voice. After the solo piece, we may vocalize you if we want to hear more of your range, and we will ask you to sing a brief series of tonal memory exercises.
After we have heard everyone, we may ask you to come back to sing a second audition, beginning on Tuesday, September 9. These recall auditions last throughout the first week of classes, and choir lists are posted on this blog Friday, September 12. Rehearsals begin the following week.
As you are aware, we also have an outstanding studio voice faculty. Regardless of your chosen major, you can take private voice lessons. Many students think they don’t have room for choir and voice in their schedule, but it is relatively easy to move classes around at this time of year to make it possible; your advisor can help with this.  You can register for voice lessons in the music office, and if you have any questions about vocal study, please contact Dr. Brown.
Our choirs perform both on and off campus, several times each year. All of our groups record Christmas selections for release on one of our compact discs (our last Christmas CD, A Child is Born, was released in November 2013; our next album is expected in fall 2015). Opportunities for outstanding choral performances are plentiful at PLU!

We hope that you will audition for one of our ensembles. College is one of the great times in your life, and singing in a high-level choir can bring memories that last forever. You’ll meet great people, sing fantastic music in inspired performances, and share in many unforgettable moments. If we can answer any questions for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Best wishes for a great year at PLU, and we look forward to seeing you in Choral Auditions!
All best,

Dr. Richard Nance, Director of Choral Activities
Professor Lauren Whitham, Visiting Associate Director of Choral Activities

Choral Audition Information (Returning)

Choral Audition Information (Returning Students)

Greetings all!

We hope your summer has been a time of relaxation, fun with your family, and personal productivity! This blog provides important information regarding auditions for our 2014-2015 choral ensembles. Please read it carefully, and be sure to sign up for an audition time as early as possible.

As you know, Dr. Galante is on sabbatical this year, and we are delighted to welcome Lauren Whitham as Visiting Associate Director of Choral Activities. Professor Whitham comes to us after a stellar career in the public schools and teaching experience at Western Washington University. She is a longtime Tacoma resident and a PLU grad—we welcome her to our faculty!

The 2014-2015 choral ensembles at PLU are as follows:
  • Choir of the West (rehearses Monday thru Thursday, 3:40-5:10 PM. Conducted by Dr. Nance.)
  • University Chorale (rehearses Monday thru Thursday, 3:40-5:10 PM. Conducted by Professor Whitham)
  • University Singers (rehearses Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 1:45-3:15 PM. Conducted by Professor Whitham)
  • University Men's Chorus (rehearses Tuesday and Thursday, 1:45-3:15 PM. Conducted by Dr. Nance)
  • Chapel Choir (rehearses on Tuesday evenings, 6:00-7:30 PM. Conducted by Dr. Paul Tegels.)

CHORAL AUDITION INFORMATION

We will be posting sign up lists for auditions in the MBR back hallway (on the choir bulletin board) on Tuesday, September 2. We are having four days of initial auditions this year:

Thursday, September 4 (6:00-9:00p)

Friday, September 5 (9:30a-12:30p; 1:00-5:00p)

Sunday, September 7 (2:00-6:00p)

Monday, September 8 [first day of classes] (12:30-5:00p)

Please note there are NO times available on Saturday, September 6. This means we need as many of you as possible to sing for us on Thursday and Friday: we simply will not have enough times available on Sunday and Monday to hear all returning people. First year students have orientation schedules to work around, so please sign up for an early slot.

As in the past, auditions are six minutes; the routine has not changed. We will say a very quick hello, ask you to sing a solo piece (Sheila Bristow will be accompanying), and then finish with three short tonal memory exercises. If we want to hear more of your voice we may also ask for some vocalises. Since we have short audition times, please keep your solo to 2 or 3 minutes. We do want to hear enough to get a sense of how your voice is growing; if your piece is longer than 3 minutes, just pick a section that best shows off your voice. If you have a piece with a da capo, you could choose to omit the da capo, or simply ornament the first time around.

PREPARING FOR YOUR AUDITION

It is very important for you to take your audition seriously! Start working on your piece so you can be in good form when you sing for us (it's easy to get rusty during the summer break!). We also encourage you to NOT choose to sing something from the hymnal. Spots in the choirs are limited and we have difficult choices to make: you need to sing your best for us!

To assist with your audition preparation, Sheila Bristow is offering an audition prep class on Wednesday, September 3, from 6:30-8:30p (drop in hours) in the Choir Room. This is a great chance to check your memory, remember what the accompaniment sounds like, and sing in front of your friends! The cost to participate is $5. For more information, please contact Sheila.

OPENING CONVOCATION

This year's convocation will be held on Monday, September 8. All returning members of Choir of the West and Chorale participate in the convocation ensemble. The choir will be singing the Roger Wagner Alleluia and an a cappella verse of a hymn. The schedule is listed below:

Sunday, Sept 7 -- Rehearsal, 7:00-8:00pm
Monday, Sept 8 -- Convocation, 9:00am (CALL 8:00)

RECALL AUDITIONS

Recall lists will be posted on the choir bulletin board by noon on Tuesday, Sept 9, and will run throughout the first week of classes. We'll post our final choir lists late in the afternoon on Friday, September 12 on this blog. Rehearsals will begin on Monday, Sept 15.

It's going to be a very exciting year, and we are anxious to get started. Please sign up for your audition at your earliest convenience! Any questions, please do not hesitate to send us an email.

Enjoy these last few days of summer!

All best,

Dr. Richard Nance, Director of Choral Activities
Professor Lauren Whitham, Visiting Associate Director of Choral Activities



Audition Prep Class

For new AND returning students...all are invited!

To assist with your audition preparation, Sheila Bristow is offering an audition prep class on Wednesday, September 3, from 6:30-8:30p (drop in hours) in the Choir Room. This is a great chance to check your memory, remember what the accompaniment sounds like, and sing in front of your friends! The cost to participate is $5. For more information, please contact Sheila.

What to do about choral auditions if you are studying away

A semester of study away is an exciting and important experience offered to students during their time at PLU. We try our best to accommodate students who want to study away and still be involved in choir in the semester before or after their program, but this requires careful planning and clear communication between students and choral faculty.  

Obviously, a year-long commitment from members is the ideal for any ensemble. Choirs grow immensely during the course of an academic year, and group chemistry is an important part of that.  Adding or subtracting personnel also affects the balance and tone color of the choir.  This is not to say that a mid-year change in personnel is not possible (especially a minor one), but it's not ideal, and it takes some careful consideration.

Students who are studying away in J-term or the spring semester should sing an audition in the fall.  During the audition, let the panel know that you are planning to study away, and we can take that into consideration when we consider rosters for the various choirs.  For those studying away in the fall who cannot attend choral auditions, please email Dr. Nance and Professor Whitham right away, so we know that you are going to be gone.  When you return, we'll hear you sing an audition and find a place appropriate for both you and the ensemble.


Dr. Nance (richard.nance@plu.edu)
Professor Whitham (whithale@plu.edu)
Audition sign up lists will be posted by noon tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 2).  Be sure and sign up for the earliest convenient time for you--we can't get everyone in on Sunday and Monday!

So excited to hear everyone--welcome back!