Alan Alder, music instructor and director of University Singers, leads a practice session of the summer chorus alongside Peter Douglas on the piano June 24, 2019, at Hahn Recital Hall. The summer chorus will perform at a free concert open to the public 7:30 p.m. July 16 at Sursa Performance Hall. Rohith Rao, DN
Ball State, Muncie communities participate in summer chorus
For the past five Monday evenings students, faculty, and members of the Ball State and Muncie communities gathered together to practice for two and a half hours each day, finally culminating in a performance for the community.
Ball State School of Music’s Summer Chorus will put up a choral performance 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Sursa Performance Hall under the direction of Alan Alder, music instructor and director of University Singers.
“It’s an opportunity to keep singing through the summer,” Alder said. “It’s a nice way to keep working on our voices and stay in vocal shape so that when we come back in the fall we’re still in good voice and we’re not out of practice.”
Under the direction of Alan Alder, the program will include:
- One Hundred Fiftieth Psalm - Howard Hanson
- How Can I Keep from Singing - arr. Daniel Graves
- Rockin' Jerusalem - Andre Thomas
- The Awakening - Joseph M. Martin
- Corner of the Sky - Stephen Schwartz; arr. John Cacavas
- Just a Little Lovin' - Mann/Weil; arr. Alder
- Yesterday - Lennon/McCartney; arr. Alder
- Another Hundred People - Sondheim; arr. Alder
While Ball State students can participate in the choir as a class for credit, the choir is open for anyone to join without auditions being held or any prior singing experience.
Muncie residents like Jeff West, a full-time parent, said while he does have experience playing the piano he doesn’t have much singing experience other than singing to his kids at home. He is participating in the program for the opportunity to sing with other people.
“You get a lot of energy, you get a lot of spirit,” West said. “It’s not something you get to do in everyday life.”
He said people coming together and being committed to performing and singing “makes for a great amount of enthusiasm in the room.”
“I come out from each of those sessions feeling a combination of exhaustion and elation,” he said.
He said while knowing that the work they put has yielded results, he was still nervous about the final performance because “there’s nothing familiar about it at all.”
“That being said, it’s a very excited nervousness — the kind of nervousness that at least is expectant, the kind that you want to have or you look forward to having,” West said. “It makes a day feel a little bit more sparkly, a little bit more electric.”
He said practicing with a group of people gives him the opportunity to learn things he couldn’t have picked up by himself.
“The opportunity to put something in front of an audience and get feedback from an audience is a rare opportunity, in some ways for everyone, but particularly for those who aren’t performing regularly,” he said. “There’s something about having people respond to what you’re doing, respond positively, respond energetically to what you’re doing that gives you more energy back.”
Alder himself took part in Ball State’s summer choir when he was a student. Back then the choir was run by Douglas Amman, director emeritus of choral activities. Alder said this was a way of continuing Amman’s work.
“I just find it personally satisfying to be able to do something like that,” Alder said. “In this kind of environment, it’s a little bit less pressure. We get to have a little bit more fun.”
He said the summer chorus was also an opportunity to get to know other people from the Muncie and Ball State community instead of “being sort of in our own sort of bubble of existence within the School of Music.”
“The neat thing about this to me is that people want to do it and there are so many other things out there right now … but people are still making time to be a part of this program,” Alder said. “I think that is a testament to ... the importance that choral music takes in the Muncie community.”