Choir aims to attract all types of singers

By Josiah Martin | Staff Writer

11/09/2017

Getting involved in music at Duquesne just got a little easier, especially for those who aren’t studying music and find the idea of joining a campus music group a little daunting. These are the people that Caron Daley hopes to bring into the University Singers, a choral group founded in 2016 that welcomes music majors and non-majors alike.

“I started [University Singers] last fall to reach out, to basically extend our reach to a population that wasn’t being served. Our choirs are mostly for music majors,” Daley, a professor and director of choral activities at the Mary Pappert School of Music, said. “I felt that we should have more involvement for folks from other schools who love to sing.”

Courtesy of Caron Daley
The University Singers choir group was founded in 2016 by Caron Daley in order to provide an opportunity to non-music-major students and other members of the Duquesne community to perform.

While the existing Pappert Chorale also welcomes non-majors, the University Singers is unique in that its reach is even broader. The group is also welcoming “faculty, staff, alumni and community members,” according to Daley. This type of group is not unprecedented in universities, and Daley has had experience with them in the past.

“I’ve taught at other universities that have choirs [consisting of various community members], and I thought it would benefit our community here at Duquesne,” Daley said. “I just started it, basically, and people came.”

The group has been a success so far. Daley states that the group’s, “performances are very well-attended,” and the choir itself currently has 36 members. This number fluctuates, as members participate on a by-semester basis. Daley is hopeful, however, that this choir’s wide reach, and its ability to easily fill students’ creative arts requirements, will allow it to grow substantially in the future.

“My goal is that this will be our largest choir at Duquesne. I’d like there to be 60 or 80 people in our group … I think it can take a few years for a choir to grow.”

Part of the group’s success may be due to the fact that for students, there is no audition to join. Daley hopes that this attracts members who may not be otherwise confident in their ability to pass an audition.

“That can really scare people off. ‘Oh, I can’t be in a choir, I’m not good enough.’ So we just ask that they have some prior singing experience.”

With these perks in mind, Daley hopes the University Singers can reach new students through events on campus.

“Right now we’re doing a big push to try to populate the choir more for January,” Daley said, noting that the group has an opportunity to do this at their next performance. “Our
upcoming performance is Christmas at Duquesne, which is Sunday Dec. 3 […] in the Power Center Ballroom.”

That Christmas performance will be followed by a Christmas Sing-Along event in the Union Ballroom at 4:45 p.m. on Dec. 5. Daley has especially high hopes for this event as an outreach opportunity, as it is open to all students.

“Basically, you just come and sing, and there’s no practice, and there’s no rehearsing, it’s just a community event,” Daley said. “We’re hoping that’s going to bring attention to the choir itself, as well.”

The event will also feature performances by the Duquesne Low Brass Ensemble and Seth Beckman, Dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music.

Though these events will feature Christmas music, the University Singers perform a wide variety of music, with a particular focus on classical choral arrangements. In their previous performance, the group tackled South American folk music.

The group rehearses in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit on Tuesday nights from 6 p.m.-8:15 p.m.

For more information, visit duq.edu/choirs or email Daley at daleyc1@duq.edu.

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