Alma College has more to offer beyond the traditional academics and athletics. It offers a way for students to get in tune with their musical side.
The Alma College Chorale is the younger choir in the Alma college choral program. This program consists of the Alma Choir and the Chorale, along with two small acapella groups, Pretty in Plaid and Scots on the Rocks.
“The purpose of the choral program is to educate students in the choral arts,” said Will Nichols, the Seacrest Professor of Music and conductor of the Alma College Choirs.
The chorale program exists as a way to inform students of different avenues to pursue what they love through music and to offer students the opportunity to try something new. “My role is to foster a love for singing and music on our campus,” said Nichols. Chorale allows students to do this while being a part of the arts on campus.
To be a part of this ensemble, it is more than attending a weekly meeting. It involves attending three one hour rehearsals throughout the week, along with performing at a few concerts throughout the school year ranging from seasonal and holiday performances to end of the year ones in February and April.
“We do a lot of our work in class, but there is also a deep sense of personal responsibility for learning and memorizing on our own. Many choir students find themselves looking over their music and singing it to memorize on their own time,” said tenor singer, Raul Rivera (’22).
Chorale members are constantly working in and out of class and throughout the school year to perform at their best in rehearsal and on stage. Concerts and performances are a big part of not only the program, but allowing students to express themselves and show off their talents and hard work.
“A typical concert has us preparing for a couple hours before, and then attempting to run it from start to finish as smooth as possible for our performance,” said bass singer, Bradley Skellenger (’22).
Just like any other group on campus, the Chorale members strive to perfect their work in order to put on a successful performance, which the acapella groups and Chorale did last Friday, Feb. 15.
It was their mid-winter concert that allowed members to perform what they have been working on since their previous concert, Festival of Carols. Preparation for this concert started at the beginning of the semester with the weekly rehearsals.
“Sometimes individual singers will meet with Dr. Nichols to work on the music, and as we get closer to concerts, we may add extra rehearsals aside from the normal scheduled times,” said Skellenger.
Dr. Nichols and members are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they put on the best performance for them and the audience. It is all about putting on a performance that the audience will love and that the members will enjoy performing.
“For me, my favorite part of chorale is the moment we finish the last song of the program. At that moment, I feel like I can take a deep breath and fully appreciate the hard work that the choir has put in to get to that moment. It creates a great feeling of satisfaction knowing we’ve put on a successful performance and that we’ll be able to take all we’ve learned and apply it as we try to make each performance better than the last,” said Skellenger.
This is why programs like Chorale are a big part of the campus culture. They bring people together in ways that academics and athletics cannot.
“My favorite part about chorale is being able to come together with people who enjoy similar things as me and singing together, no matter what the song is about,” said tenor singer, Blake Jonassen (’22).
People choose Chorale as a way to take a break from the busy campus life to do what they enjoy. It does not matter whether they joined Chorale on a vocal scholarship or simply out of curiosity; all that matters is that they joined to be a part of something they find fun and intriguing.
“To become a choir member, all a student needs to do is knock on my office door (Music Building, rm 111) and come say hello! If a student wants to try it on for size first, ask a friend from the choir if you can tag along to a rehearsal — you will always be welcome!,” said Nichols.