Mount Union Concert Choir
The University of Mount Union Concert Choir is among the oldest collegiate choirs in the United States, tracing its roots to 1896. The distinguished legacy of the choral program at Mount Union is one that is deeply rooted in the very history of the institution, encompassing the contributions of several distinguished American conductors, including Robert Fountain (1942-1946), who went on to lead renowned choral programs at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and The University of Wisconsin, and Bruce Browne (1972-1976), emeritus professor of choral studies and voice at Portland State University and conductor laureate of the Portland Symphonic Choir. Under the direction of Cecil "Pop" Stewart (1946-1972) the Concert Choir gained international acclaim. In 1966, the beloved Stewart led the Choir on an around-the-world tour. Dubbed "Peace Through Understanding," the 48-day tour visited Alaska, Japan, Southeast Asia, Near East, Greece, Italy, England and France. Professor Stewart was known for his exacting standard, inspired leadership and, above all, unwavering devotion to Mount Union.
Open by audition to all students on campus, the Concert Choir comprises musicians from a wide variety of academic disciplines and, thus, truly respresents the University's strong liberal arts foundation. Serving as an ambassador of the University, the Concert Choir performs annually throughout the continental United States and undertakes an international tour every four years. The Concert Choir is dedicated to the rehearsal and performance of the highest quality choral literature from the Renaissance through the 21st century, including spirituals, gospel music, folk songs, and music celebrating a global perspective. Recent performances include Joseph Haydn's Mass in B-flat, the so-class Theresienmesse, Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125, and "Choral Fantasy" in c minor, op. 180 with the Canton Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of Maestro Gerhardt Zimmerman.
RACHEL BOYCE LANG INTERNATIONAL CHOIR TOUR
In 2006, the Rachel Boyce Lang Foundation generously established an endowed fund that reinstated Mount Union’s international choir tour after nearly three decades of purely domestic travel. The Rachel Boyce Lang International Choir Tour fund sponsors, in part, a life-enriching global touring experience for choir members once every four years.
Cantus is a dynamic musical organization comprised of forty-five student musicians, representing a wide variety of academic disciplines on campus. Its goals are to discover and perform outstanding repertoire for voices. Recent performances include Johann Michael Haydn's Missa sub titula Sancti Leopoldi, MH. 837 (1805); the multi-movement cantata Willkommen süßer Bräutigam by the German composer Vincent Lübeck (1654-1740); Bob Chilcott's This Day; Diane Abdi Robertson's Dream; and Psalm Trilogy by Srul Irving Glick. Cantus rehearses three times each week and performs each semester of the academic year, including performances at the annual University of Mount Union Christmas Festival. No formal audition is required to participate in this choral ensemble.
Mount Union Alliance Chorale
The Mount Union Alliance Chorale represents a successful and long standing musical collaboration between the University of Mount Union and the greater Alliance community. Founded in the early 1980s, the Chorale is comprised of UMU students and faculty as well as members of the Alliance community - all of whom share a passion for choral singing. Two public performances a year offer a wide variety of choral repertoire from the Renaissance to the present. Membership is open to anyone who shares a love for singing together and is seeking a quality choral experience. Rehearsals are held in Cope Music Hall on Tuesdays from 7 - 9 p.m.
Choral Placement Auditions
Who can audition? Any UMU student, regardless of major, may complete a choral placement audition. The Concert Choir (MUS 260) rehearses three days each week: Mondays from 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:15-5:45 p.m. Cantus (MUS 262) also rehearses three days each week: MWF from 3-4:05 p.m. The Mount Union Alliance Chorale (MUS 261), comprised of students, faculty, staff and members of the community, rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 7- 9 p.m. The Concert Choir is the ONLY ensemble that requires a formal audition; however, it is advised that you complete the choral placement process to ensure that you are placed in the appropriate ensemble for your skill level.
When and where are auditions? Auditions will be held Sunday, August 21 through Saturday, August 27 in the office of the Director of Choral Activities (Giese Center for the Performing Arts, Room 189).
Where do I sign up for an audition time? There will be an audition sign-up sheet on the office door of the Director of Choral Activities (Giese Center for the Performing Arts, Room 189).
Audition procedure: The audition is relatively simple and consists of four parts: singing America (“My Country, 'Tis of Thee”); vocalizing; pitch retention; and simple sight-reading. It is not necessary to bring a prepared song.
- America: Students will be asked to sing the melody without accompaniment in a key appropriate to the student's voice classification. Music will be provided. The director will be listening for voice quality and pitch accuracy
- Vocalizing: Students will be asked to sing a five-tone scale using various vowels. (Those auditioning may be asked to sing other simple vocalises.) The director will be listening for range, voice and vowel quality, vocal agility, and pitch accuracy.
- Pitch retention: Isolated pitches will be played on the piano, and the student will be asked to sing back what he/she/they hears. The director will be listening for pitch accuracy and the ease with which the student reproduces the pitches. The exercises begin simply (diatonic) and become increasingly more difficult (non-diatonic).
- Sight-reading: Students will be asked to sight-sing a simple melody unaccompanied. The level of difficulty of the melodies is similar to that of a church hymn or folk song. Students may use their preferred method of sight-singing: neutral syllable (la, la, la); solfège (do, re, mi); numbers (1, 2, 3), etc. The director will be listening for the accuracy of pitches and rhythms and, in general, a demonstration of musical literacy.
Choral placements will be sent via campus email no later than Monday, August 29 at noon. Depending on your placement, the University Registrar will either add your assigned ensemble to your schedule or change your current ensemble registration (for example from Concert Choir to Cantus or vice versa). The Concert Choir’s first rehearsal of the academic year will be Monday, August 29 at 5:30 p.m.; Cantus will begin rehearsals on Monday, August 29 at 3 p.m.; and the Mount Union Alliance Chorale will begin its rehearsals on Tuesday, August 30 at 7 p.m.
An important note to ALL incoming female and/or treble singers who hold a music participation scholarship: Whereas the choral placement audition process does not conclude until after the last day to add a course, it is IMPERATIVE that you hold the MWF 3:00 to 4:05 time slot open in your schedule in the event that you are placed in the Cantus (please keep in mind that there are a finite number of openings in the Concert Choir for new female/treble singers). A case in point, if you register for ENG 100, MWF, 3:00 to 4:05 and are then placed in the Cantus, you will be required per the terms of your scholarship to drop ENG 100 in favor of MUS 260 (Cantus); however, by the time this change in registration can be made it will be too late to add another course to replace ENG 100
Founded in December 2011, the annual University of Mount Union Christmas Festival is a musical celebration of the Advent-Christmas season. This special program, which includes seasonal concert music, traditional hymns and carols, and selected readings, is given by the Concert Choir and Cantus.