After latest auditions, WSU Choirs members come away ‘transformed’

When walking through the corridors and hallways of the Duerksen Fine Arts Center, it is hard to ignore the sound of music.

Voices harmonizing from bass to soprano abound in the place artistic departments call home, where students make music and memories.

Junior Stephanie Shelden said she has been a part of the Concert Chorale since her freshman year.

“Performing as a part of Concert Chorale has been a beautiful experience,” she said. “The real joy of singing in this choir comes from rehearsals, from the time spent in studying the repertoire, in collaborating with other singers to create excellent music, and learning from our wonderful conductor.”

The group’s conductor is Michael Hanawalt, assistant professor of Choral Music. Auditions for the choir were held the first week of classes, and Hanawalt said they are ‘very painless’ and open to any student regardless of their major.

There is no preparation ahead of time, he said, and it includes a test to determine a singer’s range, pitch-matching exercises and a performance of “My Country ’Tis of Thee.”

“We’re looking for students who are intelligent…have good musicianship skills…that they enjoy singing and being a part of something greater than themselves,” he said.

Benefits to being involved with the choir involve more than just making music but making a difference in people’s lives.

Senior Anthony Perkins Jr. said he’s been a part of the choir for five years.  

“WSU choirs offer an opportunity to leave you as an individual and be transformed into something much larger,” Perkins said. “…I would recommend it because it’s not like any other class which is on campus. There is no competing or long lecture notes. We…challenge and motivate each other so that as a whole we grow as we develop our skills.”

Besides that, Perkins said the choir is like having a second family.

“We eat, talk, learn, grow and love each person,” he said. “There truly is a place for everyone in choir because is takes every type of person to make it successful.”