UW-Eau Claire hosts 2016 Choral Showcase

Bringing the community and campus together through the power of song

More stories from Sydney Purpora


Photo by Sydney Purpora

The 2016 Choral Showcase contained a plethora of choirs performing songs that portrayed their unique styles. The Singing Statesmen conducted by Elizabeth Joosten performed all the pieces they had been working on since the start of the semester.

A harmonized sound accompanied by eloquent lyrics echoed throughout the grand concert hall as a group of student vocalists began to gently sway to the beat.

As the song progressed, the singers loosened up and began acting out the flirtatious yet passionate words as they sang them. The all male choir group, The Singing Statesmen, humorously played out the longing love story behind the lyrics, inciting laughter from the audience.

UW-Eau Claire hosted the 2016 Choral Showcase on Sunday, presenting the work of six choirs within the music department and bringing the community and university together through a collective love for music.

The concert hall was tightly packed with over 450 community members, students, faculty, family and friends awaiting the performance by the university’s choral students. Each choir prepared music that reflected their unique tone.

“There is such a variety,” Elizabeth Joosten, an assistant conductor of choral studies, said regarding the performances at the showcase. “There is a variety in the groups, in the literature and in the music.”

Joosten conducts Symphonic Choir, Women’s Chorus and The Singing Statesmen. Music is the shared passion among each member of every group, she said.

Talented vocalists from the community and university students share their collective interest of music in The Symphonic Choir. Joosten said conducting an array of singers from different backgrounds gives her a chance to work with a diverse group and bring the community and university together.

Jerry Way, a member of the Eau Claire Symphonic Choir and a university alum from the class of 1967, said he enjoys the opportunity to sing with other community members and students. He also emphasized singing is for all ages.

“It involves being together with other singers and a number of people for a common cause and working together,” Way said. “Singing is so immediate and personal because your voice is part of you. You can sing your whole life and that is a really positive thing to have.”

The music department has a variety of choirs differing in music, style and members. With many performances each semester, each choir is given a chance to display their vocal skills to an audience.

One of the university’s oldest choirs, The Singing Statesmen, has showcased their choral talent for 50 years. Comprised of over 60 male students, the group represents “diverse academic disciplines with a common respect and admiration for choral music,” according to the Eau Claire choral website.

Matthew Nyman, a junior music student, has been a part of The Singing Statesmen for three years. Although the group is large, he said the group’s camaraderie is the best part and makes their hard work worth it.

The other three choirs which took the stage included Novum Voce, Women’s Concert Chorale (WOCO) and Concert Choir.

WOCO is a group of 80 female students conducted by Frank Watkins. The choir just finished a tour this past weekend around the Green Bay area, touring different high schools, a church and in the atrium of Lambeau Field.

Mary Boston, a freshman athletic training student and member of WOCO, said she loves the “singer’s high” she gets when performing with the group and she feels the choir itself breaks stereotypes of other female choirs.

“Female choirs oftentimes are overlooked and discriminated against because people think and feel that they cannot produce the beautiful sound that a mixed group or even an all male group can accomplish,” Boston said. “We show that that is in fact wrong.”

Throughout the music department, students and faculty portray their love for music. Nyman said the department is one of the largest in the area and its program and staff are what make it so memorable.

The next choral concerts will feature the Symphonic Choir and the University Orchestra on Sunday, Nov. 20 and the Women’s Chorus and Novum Voce Monday, Nov. 21. Find out more about the choirs and their future performances on the Eau Claire Calendar.