UA Choir: Car and Shower Singers Welcome

UA Choir: Car and Shower Singers Welcome

By Shannon StrongUniversity Communications
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Faculty and Staff Choir singing at the opening of the Tucson Streetcar. (Photo courtesy of Faculty and Staff Choir)
Faculty and Staff Choir singing at the opening of the Tucson Streetcar. (Photo courtesy of Faculty and Staff Choir)
The Faculty and Staff Choir welcome all who are interested in singing regardless of experience.
The Faculty and Staff Choir welcome all who are interested in singing regardless of experience.

If you love to sing ­– whether it's performing car karaoke while listening to your favorite song on the way to work, crooning in the shower or performing in front of audiences – there's a place for you in the Faculty and Staff Choir.

For more than 24 years, members of the choir have been practicing and performing a wide variety of tunes including traditional holiday music, folk music, classical compositions, Broadway musicals and spiritual songs.

The non-audition choir, which has around 40 members, includes employees and graduate students from a wide variety of departments, and with a range of voice and choral experience.

Paul Sheppard, associate professor of dendrochronology and the choir's president, regards the choir as a unique opportunity that meets the needs of adults who wish to continue their choral experience in a convenient and fun way.

"Choirs are more often available to high school or college students alone, but not many opportunities exist for adults unless you are a member of a church or professional choir," Sheppard said. "I've met people from various departments that I would not have met otherwise if it had not been for this kind of activity."

Members of the club include Mindy Jones, library information associate and secretary for the choir, Rebecca Mosher, assistant professor in the School of Plant Sciences, and Lucas Snyder, senior media technician at Flandrau Science Center.

It's not just singers who are drawn to the choir. It also offers opportunities for students who are learning to be vocal conductors. Benjamin Hansen, a graduate student pursuing a doctorate in choral conducting, is the current director of the choir and conducts the choir's twice-weekly practices as well as its performances in the fall and spring, which include sporting events, a spring recital and other campus events such as the Tucson Festival of Books. Hansen is also charged with selecting the music the choir performs and helping members decide which parts they will sing.

For the spring semester, Hansen selected works that highlight the choir's diverse skills. With the accompaniment of a choral organ, the choir will sing Mendelssohn's "Verleih Uns Friedan" and Will Todd's "The Call of Wisdom." The choir will also jazz things up with "Love is Here to Stay" by George Gershwin and the "The Pink Panther" theme song.

Hansen, Sheppard, piano accompanist Shantell Petty – who also is a College of Fine Arts student – and the rest of the choir can be heard refining these songs and practicing new music every Monday and Thursday during the lunch hour in the Fred Fox School of Music. The choir's will have its end-of-semester gala in Holsclaw Hall on May 5.

The choir invites all employees and graduate students who share a passion for choral singing to join – no matter their level of experience.

"We get to sing choral songs, meet new and interesting people, and generally enjoy the fellowship of harmony, both in the musical sense and in personal interactions," Sheppard said.

Visit the choir's website for more information or email Sheppard at sheppard@ltrr.arizona.edu.

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