Choral Union Concert at the Pablo

A night of music showcases the choir and symphonic orchestra

Ella Freeman

More stories from Ella Freeman

Across the Pond
February 7, 2024
Musicians perform on stage at the showcase.

Photo by UW-Eau Claire

Musicians perform on stage at the showcase.

The Choral Union Concert took place on April 16 at 5 p.m. This performance included the UW- Eau Claire concert choir and symphonic choir. 

Assistant Professor of Choral Music Christopher McGinley conducted the symphonic choir section of this performance. 

“The choral union can take a couple of different formats.” McGinley said. “Sometimes it’s where we have multiple of our campus choirs sharing a concert and sometimes it means that our choirs will perform a large piece together.”

“We want to engage the audience with music from diverse eras and styles. This is the first time since I have been here that we performed anything from the classical era so I really wanted to do something by Mozart,” McGinley said. 

According to McGinley, the symphonic choir is an intergenerational choir that combines community members and UW-Eau Claire staff and students. 

“Our top goal is always excellence, so part of that is I want to see the ensemble grow in number. Before Covid symphonic used to have a good amount of community members, so I would really like to see the adult participation grow,” McGinley said. 

The choral union is a way to get multiple choirs working together whether it is two or more choirs bringing different music and performing it at the same concert, McGinley said, or working together as one large team. 

The symphonic choir was preparing for two concerts this season, according to McGinley. After spring break it was full speed ahead preparing for the Choral Union. 

Conductor of the concert choir and director of choral studies Frank Watkins said his choir had been working on their pieces since the beginning of the semester.  

“Concert choir did two sets. We opened the concert with a set of sacred music, and then we closed the concert with a set of secular music,” Watkins said. 

According to Watkins the concert, the choir is an open mix ensemble choir, specifically for UW-Eau Claire students. 

“We usually prepare through the semester. For this event we started to work on it right when classes started in February, so we have been working on this concert for a while,” Watkins said. 

Watkins said this concert is an annual event and can always look different, but this year the orchestra was unavailable so the choral directors decided on two choirs sharing a concert. 

“The goal for the concert was to showcase music that the students have worked on throughout the semester,” Watkins said. 

Watkins was very happy with the way the performance went. He said he felt that all choirs achieved all their goals. 

“It was a great way to culminate our spring semester. It features wonderful choral music that spans all times and genres and it’s great to put that on the stage,” Watkins said. 

Watkins encourages students to not only join a choir but come out and support concerts for the students who are putting in the hard work. 

“Choir is open for everyone regardless of major, if you want to sing there is a place for everyone,” Watkins said. 

McGinley said he would love to see more students joining the choir.    

“We are already planning for next year’s choral union, and I encourage students to get in touch with either myself or Frank Watkins via email and audition for any of our 6 choirs at Eau Claire,” McGinley said. 

Freeman can be reached at [email protected].