Alma Choir takes the midwest by storm

EMILY HENDERSON
STAFF WRITER

PHOTO BY EMMA GROSSBAUER

This past winter break brought yet another choir tour for the Alma College Choir. For the 2020 tour the choir performed in three states: Michigan, Illinois and Ohio.

The choir sang in Chicago, Dayton, Northville, Muskegon, Traverse City and Monroe. While they were originally set to perform in Davison as well, a snowstorm blew in, causing the performance to be cancelled.

Although one show was cancelled, they were still able to share their music with large audiences, and some students even sang in their hometown.

The choir tour is an important part of the choir experience, and it allows Alma College to showcase the wonderful talent here.

“Our purpose is three-fold: to give Alma students a chance to grow together as musicians and friends; to spread the good news about Alma College to new audiences; and to reconnect with Alma College alumni and friends,” said Director of the Alma Choirs, Dr. William Nichols.

This tour allows students to grow not only as singers, but as individuals as well.

The choir has done this tour for quite some time, and each year they are able to reach new audiences and communities.

“Churches and schools host the choir and provide us with a meal and housing for the night. Sometimes they put us up in a hotel but most of the time the members of the church bring us to their homes for the night,” said Ellie Woertz (‘20).

A lot of hard work is put into making sure this tour runs smoothly, and each member of the Alma Choir must be ready to give it their all for every performance. In fact, the singers in the choir memorized 18 different songs in a myriad of musical genres and styles.

The music performed during this tour ranged from the 16th century all the way through scores written this past year. While some of these songs may have been learned specifically for this tour, others will be performed again when the choir tours Ireland in the spring.

This choir tour has been a long-standing tradition here at Alma, and students have performed in many different corners of the United States.

“I suspect the choir has toured during the break for more than 70 years,” said Dr. Nichols.

While it seems as though this tour may be a daunting task, students are still given free time to explore cities and see sights that may be new, or old, to them.

“This year we spent two days in Chicago. It was cool to stay in a hotel that was a block from the mag mile and be able to roam the city,” said Woertz.

While Ellie may have been eager to share her stories from this past choir tour, others would like their memories to remain their own.

“What happens on choir tour stays on choir tour! But I can tell you how much I enjoy spending time away from campus with these outstanding students,” said Dr. Nichols.

A lot of time, energy, and hard work was put into making sure this choir tour was one for the books, and faculty and students alike can rest easy knowing they accomplished just that.

Each tour brings singers to new and exciting places, and maybe even areas they’d never thought they would visit. While the choir tour this year didn’t bring the singers to the sunshine state during the cold break, they each made memories that may last a lifetime.

“The choir program at this school is extremely talented and near to my heart. Dr. Nichols is an important asset to the college. I could never see another director of the choirs be as successful and beloved as this man,” said Woertz.

While this past choir tour didn’t take students to far away states, such as the previous tour in Florida, that is only because of the upcoming tour in Ireland.

“I anticipate taking the choir to the East Coast in February 2021 with concerts in Philadelphia, NYC and Washington DC,” said Dr. Nichols

Post-Super Tuesday Election Update

BRETT JENKINS
STAFF WRITER

Joe Biden’s success Super Tuesday primary elections shocked Democrat voters, many of whom expected a much stronger turnout for Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, and Mike Bloomberg have all dropped out of the race, and Biden now stands as the frontrunner. Before the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29, Sanders was the favored candidate. Now, after Biden took the majority in 10 out of 14 Super Tuesday primaries, he’s projected to win the nomination. “Election betting odds have gone from 8% chance of Biden winning the primary to 85%,” said Professor of Political Science Derick Hulme.

Biden’s success was the result of a lot of good timing.

“The key thing for Biden was getting the endorsement from Jim Clyburn and then winning by 30 points,” said Hulme, “Suddenly the psychology of everything changed.”

That change in psychology was exactly what Biden needed to be taken seriously and the results speak for themselves. Biden was no longer just another candidate with nothing new to say. Instead, he represents a more stable, moderate substitute for Sanders. On top of that, he alienates fewer independent voters and therefore stands a better chance against Trump in the presidential election. “I don’t think the Democrats want to put forward a full-on socialist like Bernie Sanders,” said Reo Donnelly, (’23). “I think it’s going to come down to Trump vs. Biden.”

The Michigan primaries are coming up and students all over campus are getting involved. Increasingly, young people are engaging with politics. Social media has allowed young people to get involved in ways that weren’t possible before. However, young people still aren’t voting. Sanders was relying on young voters to turn out in the primary elections, but they just didn’t show up to vote for him or anyone else.

Many young people feel apathetic about voting, whether they don’t think their vote matters, or they don’t like their options for candidates, they ultimately choose not to vote. They don’t like being forced to choose between the ‘lesser of two evils’.

“This year I’m choosing not to vote. I know that makes people mad, but I rest easier knowing that I didn’t give either candidate my support,” said Ethan Zalac, (’22).

However, young people are situated to vote in elections that really matter. The leaders we elect now will have impacts that will affect us for the rest of our lives.

“If young people have ever experienced a time when who their political leader is matters, it has been over the last 3 years.” said Hulme, “If you think that it matters who’s in charge, you should get out and vote.”

As more young people vote, their collective votes will start to matter more, but it’s up to the youth of the United States to take action.

Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities on campus for Alma students to get involved in politics. Left-leaning students have clubs for the Democrats and Young Democratic Socialists of

America. For right-leaning students, there are fewer options. However, Donnelly is working to create a platform for those voices at Alma.

“We’re only really getting one side, as students, in politics,” said Donnelly, “So me and a few friends have actually started the ball rolling on starting a Turning Point USA chapter at Alma.

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