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University Choirs perform ‘Back to Broadway’

Erica Baldwin, senior in music education, sings from her book in the University Choirs Concert in the Overman Student Center Ballroom on Friday, Sept. 24. Alyssa Tyler

The university choirs performed a ‘Back to Broadway’ concert in the ballroom of the Overman Student Center, featuring musical theatre and popular song. 

Sept. 24, 16 selections were performed, with a mix of ensemble and soloists. Boxed desserts were given to the guests after the concert ended as well.

“It was greatly modified from our normal September event,” said Susan Marchant, professor of music and director of choirs. “Which generally features a full-course dinner and a more extended period of music with performances going around the room and table side in addition to the full ensemble component. Given where we are in the state of the pandemic, this is what we felt we could do safely. We’re still singing and in a distanced position and we still are expecting everyone to wear masks and that’s why we devised the plan to take away desserts.”

The concert featured performances by both University Choir and the Chorale. Both ensembles are open to all students regardless of major, but Chorale requires an audition.

“I was in music my entire life, I played saxophone, I sang soprano and it was just kind of a no-brainer,” said junior in technology and engineering education Sydney Brumback.

The music and theme of the night varies from year to year. 

“We always have a theme of some sort for the evening,” Marchant said. “We often do music drawn from traditions of the country or countries to which we’re traveling. We’ve done musical theatre, (which) is a very popular choice…  We return to that every few years. We’ve also done evenings of international music, an evening of (certain) historical periods. We just keep rotating the themes.”

Although it was different compared to past years, students said they were content with the way the performance went.

“I think it went really well and especially through the past years we normally have people sitting down eating dinner,” Brumback said.

The modified concert is not the only thing the choir department has had to change because of the pandemic. 

“We just keep adjusting our plans as the situation continues to change,” Marchant said. “Our normal pattern has been to take a wonderful trip every other year around Spring Break. We were scheduled to go to Austria and the Czech Republic in the spring of 2020. In 2022, would have been our next time to travel, but of course, no one is making plans as of right now.”

Although looking towards the future of the choir program, they are looking forward to more performances.

“It was important for us to step up,” Marchant said. “It’s our first live performance in many months. Hopefully, that will just continue to improve and return at some point to a traditional choral formation and ditch the masks.”

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