Chorale gets Alma in tune


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.

Technology advances campus life


Society is moving at a faster pace than before because of the advancing of technology, expectations and a shift in priorities. People are constantly in motion and performing activities and not taking the chance to slow down for a moment, especially students. Multi-tasking has become a common practice.

When getting to college, students have the chance to join various groups on campus from Greek organizations, to sports, to the arts, to other clubs. This is in addition to their class load which can range in credits and intensity based on majors and interests. There might also be a job, on campus or off, for extra spending money or to pay fees.

Living at a slow pace gives people the chance to step away from the everyday activities, specifically with electronics to take a break. These activities can include going for a hike, reading for pleasure or even taking a nap.

Even in times of constant activity there are moments to slow down. It is necessary to take “me-time.” Jennifer Kowalczyk (’20) fills out her planner and checks off what she has done to keep life from being too busy.

There can be negatives to this life style such as the constantly full schedule or getting limited time for oneself, but the idea of progress motivates some people to continue their actions rather than pausing. When there is always something else that needs to be done, it is easy to keep busy.

“I often times fill the hour where I’m supposed to do nothing with something,” said Eli George (’20). He might sit down to work on something rather than going somewhere, so it is a bit slower. There are still some moments when he does nothing.

Social media is said to be a contributor to living at a higher speed because of the quick connections to others. Asiel Clark (‘20) finds social media to be distracting when she is trying to focus on something but uses it to connect to people when she needs to because of her position in Student Congress.

George says he does not post what he is involved with to Facebook because he “doesn’t feel the need to advertise everything I’m involved in.” Kowalczyk remains active on social media but does not let it play a big role in her life.

Being constantly on the go can have an effect on maintaining relationships in life. “I’m really fortunate to have people in my life who understand how busy I am and don’t mind when I need to take extra time for myself,” said Clark. Having a support system and people who understand can make life less stressful.

“It can destroy but it can also create [relationships] if you can find somebody who is willing to work with that,” said George. He also says that those you understand are usually also living a fast-paced life. For Kowalczyk, she prioritizes her family and friends.

There are pros to living at a faster pace. By constantly doing something, more is getting done. “I am way more productive when my life is more busy,” said Kowalczyk. By not taking a break, more progress can happen.

Students in this case have chosen to live this way. “I can’t control a lot of things about life, but I can control myself,” said Clark. She wants to meet and go beyond expectations, but says that she can define what her own success is.

“Outside pressure comes from what do I need to put on my resume…but it is also my will to want to do it,” said George. He would not be as involved in as many activities if he did not want to be. There would always be something more for him to do even if he slowed down, he said.

Up ↑