Department of Music
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EXPERIENCE CHORUS. Our vocal music faculty members enjoy regional, national and international reputations as performers and educators.
All of our undergraduate and graduate vocal performance majors and music education majors are taught by our full time faculty. We also offer vocal lessons for non-majors taught by our part time faculty who have performance and stage credits. Each of our voice professors is committed to demanding standards of performance and dedicated to assisting every undergraduate and graduate student in their pursuit of excellence in their chosen field of study.
Our vocal students have many performance opportunities. We have several choral organizations. The primary choral ensembles are University Singers and Concert Chorale and the secondary chamber ensembles include Chamber Singers and two Vocal Jazz groups. Every other year, our combined choral ensembles perform a masterwork with full orchestra. Several of the choral groups tour regionally, nationally and internationally.
Chamber Singers is an ensemble of 16-20 students selected from the University Singers. Our new choral director, Ms. Elizabeth Fisher directs the Chamber Singers, continuing a tradition of largely non-conducted performances to enhance the students' experience of true chamber music. Chamber Singers has been the featured guest ensemble at the Minnesota American Choral Directors Association Chamber Choir Festival at Concordia College, St. Paul, and (in winter of 1997) participated in the ACDA Regional Convention's Millennial Feast. The ensemble provides its more intimate sounds and distinctive literature in almost every departmental choral concert and as part of University Singers tour appearances (see University Singers for a list of international tours). More locally, Chamber Singers has been a favorite group to perform at holiday luncheons and Chancellor receptions, and has had special performance projects such as: a cantata for the Baeumler-Kaplan Holocaust observance; motets for a mass at Holy Rosary Cathedral; chorus for a Baroque opera; and performance of a Haitian Mass with the Chamber Orchestra and soprano.
The UMD Concert Chorale, directed by Mr. Mark Overland, is an open enrollment mixed ensemble of 80 voices, comprised of a variety of majors. The Chorale performs regularly at UMD choral concerts, in opera productions, for high school choral festivals, and in combined symphonic works. No previous chorus experience is necessary for membership.
University Singers is the most select large choral ensemble within the Music Department. The group is open to students from any discipline on the campus. Presently under its new director, Ms. Elizabeth Fisher, University Singers was founded in 1972 by Professor Vernon H. Opheim. Since that time, the organization has completed nine concert tours of Europe (1994: Bavaria and Austria; 2005 Netherlands and Paris; 2007 Turkey; 2010 Germany); Kenya and Tanzania (1997-98), and Costa Rica (2002).
University Singers maintains a very active performing schedule. With UMD's Symphony Orchestra (Rudy Perrault, director), it has performed Bach's B-Minor Mass, Mozart's Grand Mass in c, Saygun's oratorio Yunus Emre (sung in Turkish, with Concert Chorale) and Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem (also with Concert Chorale). The choir has performed for state and regional conferences of both ACDA and MMEA/MENC, and has joined the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra in spring performances (such as Gounod's Faust and Mahler's Resurrection Symphony). Additional annual activities typically include two Honor Choir festivals, the Weber Memorial Concert, Sounds of the Season, and mid-winter concerts.
In addition to the international tours already mentioned, the following competitive invitations have been accepted by the choir: Minnesota ACDA (St. Paul, 1995); Minnesota MEA (Minneapolis, 1996); Regional MENC (Peoria, IL, 1997); Regional ACDA (Minneapolis: "The Millennial Feast," 1998), Minnesota ACDA (Duluth, 2007), and Collegiate Choir Festival of MN ACDA (Bethel University, 2009). The choir has hosted and performed under conductors from Stockholm, Sweden; Eger, Hungary; and Petrozavodsk, Russia. In the spring of 1994, University Singers performed in the American premiere of the contemporary opera "Solitaire" (Bjorn Hallman) in collaboration with members of the Royal Swedish Opera