Embracing an open and diverse group, Colorado State University’s University Chorus now contains over 90 singers. This is the University’s largest ensemble in two years.
Music professor and CSU chorus instructor Stuart Dameron said there are three reasons for the increased membership: members do not have to audition, be music majors or register for the course. He said the chorus has doubled since four semesters ago.
“If you love singing and you can buy a dress or tuxedo and the music book at the bookstore, you’re in,” Dameron said. “There is such a diverse group of people in the choir. There are people who have sung all of their lives and people who have never sung in a choir before.”
Dameron also allows non-students to sing.
“Historically, we have had community members, faculty members and even parents sing in this group,” Dameron said. “I like to think of it more as a community choir then a course that is offered on campus.”
The CSU chorus perform four concerts every academic year.
“In the fall, we have a fall concert, and then we’ll do some sort of holiday concert,” Dameron said. “In the spring semester, we’ll have a spring concert and then we will have an end of the year concert.”
CSU senior Josh Horner, a foreign language and literature major, has watched the membership grow immensely since he joined four years ago.
“I have seen it at its smallest and now at its largest,” Horner said. “It’s really exciting to enjoy music with all of these new people.”
Horner said that the inclusive policy creates a fun atmosphere at rehearsals and concerts.
“Having people that are not music majors means that they are here simply because they love music,” Horner said. “That’s what makes this choir such a wonderful community.”
CSU senior philosophy major Jennifer Gonzales said the group works together to create beautiful music.
“We talk about how we create music in here that no single person in this choir could hope to create on their own,” Gonzales said. “It must be created in this group setting. And it doesn’t matter what your background is, if everyone is committed to the vision and the music, we all rise above and create something that is higher and greater than any single definition of beauty.”
Dameron accomplishes this by challenging the less experienced singers.
“I always try to teach towards that top ten percent,” Dameron said. “Not because I want to isolate the other singers, but because I have found in my experience that the other singers will rise up and meet the level of the other singers by the time we get to the concert. And that’s a really cool thing to see.”
Although he tailors the course to meet the needs of the more experienced students, Dameron believes that anyone can succeed in the CSU Chorus.
“The beautiful thing about choir is that you already have the instrument,” Dameron said. “I politely disagree with people who say that they can’t sing. Human speech and communication is very much in parallel with singing. It’s just a different use of the instrument.”
Dameron believes that the CSU chorus serves an important role in the community by keeping music a the forefront of students’ minds.
“As music educators, we don’t expect (everybody who loves music) to get a music degree,” Dameron said. “But it’s so important to keep music alive and keep the arts rich in our society and culture. So I think it’s very important that places like CSU have an ensemble like this one where people can come and sing.”
Dameron encourages the entire community to join the CSU Chorus.
“This is a family,” Dameron said. “We bond and connect. This is what you need to do in college. It’s more than just academics and book study. Ninety-four members is not acceptable to me. It can always grow. Our door is always open.”
Community members are welcome to visit rehearsals, which are on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m. in Runyan Music Hall at the University Center for the Arts. The deadline to join the choir this semester has passed.
Collegian Reporter Randi Mattox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @randimattox.