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COVID-19 Protocols for KU Choral Ensembles

Dear Singers,

At KU, we understand that we are all experiencing a very fluid, or changing, situation when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. The policies, guidelines and responsibilities in the Protect KU plan are based on the most current information and advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health organizations. Of course, all plans are subject to change based on the latest medical guidance and evolving circumstances. Our faculty in the School of Music is staying involved in the most up-to-date scientific studies and recommendations from the various professional organizations. Although choir will look different this Fall, our goal is to offer everyone a safe and inspiring musical experience in any of the various contingency plans.

Are We Planning to Have Choir this Fall?
Yes, the KU Choral Division will offer choir in a variety of ways this Fall. Due to COVID-19, choirs will be different during Fall 2020. Choral ensembles will be limited in size (due to social distancing requirements) and will begin the semester remotely. All choirs will continue to be auditioned, but students will be able to choose the format (hybrid or online) in which they would like to participate.

In Person/Hybrid

  • We are planning to offer in-person choral experiences in a modified format. It is likely that our choral ensembles will function in a smaller setting with varying kinds of rehearsal rotation throughout the semester in order to maintain social distancing. All choirs will be divided into smaller groups, each rehearsing their own repertoire with the addition of online learning.
  • Masks/shields/plexiglass barriers, HEPA air purifiers, among other safety measures will play a consistent role to protect the School of Music community.
  • In addition to these safety precautions, all face-to-face rehearsals will:
    a) include various rehearsal spaces (Murphy 328, Baustian, and Swarthout Recital Hall),
    b) be shorter in length (approximately 30 minutes),
  • Singers will wear masks at all times in rehearsals and will be carefully distanced throughout the various rehearsal spaces for the safety of the singers, pianist, and conductor.  Our spacing will exceed public health recommendations and follow the current scientific data for singers/musicians in rehearsals. All participants will need to sanitize chairs, stands, and other touched surfaces at the beginning and end of each rehearsal. We will also allow for longer breaks in between rehearsals for adequate air exchange.
  • PDF files of all purchased music scores will be available on Blackboard and students will be responsible for printing their own materials. We will NOT distribute music in rehearsal and students will not be allowed to share scores, pencils, IPADs, etc.
  • Singers will have assigned places in rehearsal and they will limit themselves to their assigned spaces. No physical contact will be allowed during rehearsal. No singing in circles either. All singers will face forward.
  • Since our rehearsals will be shorter this semester, there will be no breaks and no snacks in the room. We will also do most of our diction work during our zoom meetings.
  • All face-to-face choirs will also include remote learning experiences. Because our face-to-face rehearsals will be fewer and shorter, we will have scheduled zoom meetings during the semester to allow for meaningful exchanges between all members of the ensemble.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: attendance policy for all KU choral ensembles will be flexible this semester. If a student is not feeling well, he/she MUST stay home. Students will be able to submit online assignments if they miss a rehearsal.


Online Choir

  • The KU Choral Division will offer a meaningful online choral experience to students who are not comfortable with face-to-face rehearsals.
  • Students will be able to practice their individual voice parts in isolation and while listening to all parts. Singers will submit weekly assignments and will also have weekly zoom meetings with faculty and instructional staff to engage in online rehearsals and discussions.
  • We will create breakout rooms where students will lead conversations about text, diction, articulation, dynamics, and teaching strategies. Although we hope to create some sort of virtual recording that we can share with our audience, our primary goal is to create a virtual experience where we are reminded that choral music has never been exclusively about singing.

Do Students Need to Audition for Choir this Fall?
Yes, ALL new and returning students will need to sign-up for our choral placement before they can join one of our choral ensembles.

We will offer online auditions only. Auditions will take place on the first four days of classes (8/24-8/27).

Click the link below for more information regarding choir placement:                        

http://music.ku.edu/choral/placements

We understand that things could change at any moment, but in the meantime, we are working creatively to prepare for different scenarios. Choral music will live at KU and it will be AWESOME. Come and join us! There is a choir for every Jayhawk!


The choral ensemble experience at the University of Kansas is diversified and comprehensive - ranging from traditional to experimental, classical to jazz, and the intimate to the grandiose. Each of our seven choirs has its own identity, and they all combine for special events such as the annual Holiday Vespers, and other major concerts with the KU Symphony Orchestra.

The University of Kansas offers M.M. and D.M.A. degrees in choral conducting, M.M.E. degrees in choral pedagogy and Ph.D. degrees in choral/vocal pedagogy. Additional information in choral/vocal pedagogy can be found at http://music.ku.edu/memt/documents

Membership in KU Choirs is open, by placement, to any KU student.

To view the KU Choirs program brochure click here. 

Links Features Faculty Contact


Join KU Choirs

KU Choirs is an excellent opportunity to expand your musicianship, work on your singing, and meet new friends. All choirs are open to KU students, no matter the major. We hope you will consider being a part of the choral experience here at KU! 

If you are passionate about singing, then KU has a choir for you. Ensembles are open by audition to all students at the University, regardless of major. Whether you are an accomplished singer or someone seeking to develop and refine your vocal abilities, you will find a place in one of our choirs. KU choirs perform various concerts throughout the school year, and then combine with the Symphonic Orchestra for the Holiday Vespers in December and a major concert in the spring semester. In addition to performances in the fall and spring semesters, KU also boasts a Summer Chorus that provides an opportunity for additional performances in the summer months.

The KU choirs enjoy an excellent national reputation, having made recent appearances at regional and national American Choral Directors’ Association conventions, performances on National Public Radio and Public Television, and recent tours to England (1998), France (1999), Hungary (2000), Brazil (2001), Australia (2002), the Eastern United States (2003), Colorado (2004), Los Angeles/San Diego (2005), Austria/Germany/Italy (2005), cities and towns in Kansas (2005), Dallas (2006), Chicago (2005 and 2006), England/Scotland (2007), Italy (2010), Costa Rica (2018) and Irvine, CA (2019).

There are seven choirs in our program, each with its own purpose, tradition, and different levels of musical experience. Choirs meet at various times throughout the week, allowing students to participate in a choir that fits their busy class schedules:

Bales Chorale

Photo of Bales HallReahearsal Time
MWF 9:00 - 9:50 a.m.

Rehearsal Location
Murphy Hall, Room 328

Conductor
Michael Bauer | mbauer@ku.edu

Description
Bales Chorale is an ensemble of 25-30 singers specializing in the performance of sacred choral literature with emphasis on choral works with organ. Bales Chorale is led by graduate students enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts degree program in church music. All Bales Chorale performances are presented in the Bales Organ Recital Hall.

Concert Choir

Concert Choir in Bales Recital HallRehearsal Time
MWF 1:00 - 2:50 p.m.

Rehearsal Location
Murphy Hall, Room 328

Conductor
Mariana Farah | mfarah@ku.edu

Description
Concert Choir is the largest select mixed choral ensemble at KU, and is comprised of up to 70 singers. This ensemble performs works that span the entire breadth of the choral literary tradition and requires an advanced level of musicianship and ensemble skills from its members. The Concert Choir typically performs literature for larger ensembles, at times featuring music for double-chorus. Members of this ensemble also belong to the Symphonic Chorus.

KU Glee Club

Photo of Men's Glee ClubRehearsal Time
TR 3:00 - 4:20 p.m.

Rehearsal Location
Murphy Hall, Room 328

Conductors 
Josh Donaldson and Ryan Welker.

Description
As the oldest continuous choral ensemble at KU, the Glee Club is KU’s Tenor/Bass choral ensemble. The group performs a wide variety of choral repertoire, ranging from standard classical literature to KU fight songs. The Glee Club performs regularly for events on campus and for special engagements off campus. Most recently, the group performed the National Anthem at the Royal’s game in Kansas City and at various KU Men’s Basketball games. The members of the Glee Club also belong to the Symphonic Chorus.

University Singers

Photo of The University Singers on KU CampusRehearsal Time
MWF 10:00 - 10:50 a.m.

Rehearsal Location
Murphy Hall, Room 328

Conductor
Melissa Grady | mlgrady@ku.edu

Description
University Singers is one of KU’s mixed chorus of undergraduate voices that performs a variety of choral literature while concentrating on basic ensemble and musicianship skills. Members of University Singers also perform with the Symphonic Chorus.

Treble Choir

Photo of Women's Chorale on StaircaseRehearsal Time
MWF 11:00 - 11:50 a.m.

Rehearsal Location
Murphy Hall, Room 328

Conductor
Mariana Farah | mfarah@ku.edu

DescriptionThe KU Treble Choir is a select ensemble of undergraduate singers who specialize in the performance of a wide variety of music for treble voices. Under the direction of Dr. Mariana Farah, the ensemble has been selected to perform at the Kansas Music Educators Association Convention and for the Southwestern Division of the American Choral Directors Association. The members of the Treble Choir also participate in the Symphonic Chorus.
 

Opportunities for Community members

Join the KU Symphonic Chorus for our Annual Holiday Vespers performances. Members of the community are encouraged to join our Monday evening rehearsals to sing some wonderful Holiday music with the KU Choir and Orchestra. Rehearsals will take place on Mondays, November 16, 23, and 30 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., in Murphy 328. Dress rehearsal: December 3, from 6-10 p.m. at the Lied Center. KU Vespers Holiday Concert: December 6, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Lied Center. For more information about joining the 2020 season of Vespers, contact Mariana Farah: mfarah@ku.edu.

Our choral department is led by very talented faculty, Dr. Mariana Farah, and a team of Graduate Teaching Assistants. It is our mission to see everyone who sings with us grow in their musicianship as singers and collaborators with other musicians. Join us! You'll be glad you did.


Choral Placement Registration

To join us for the 2020-2021 season please visit the Choral Placements page

In addition to the official choral ensembles at KU, several other student-led ensembles exist. These ensembles provide opportunities for students to perform various styles of music. There is a Gospel Choir, Jewish Choir, as well as Vocal Jazz ensembles. We invite you to become part of the great choral tradition at KU!


Questions/Concerns

Please direct all questions and concerns to KU Choral Division at mfarah@ku.edu 

We hope you consider joining us this season!


School of Music Calendar
Music students present hundreds of public concerts every year
Students perform in KU choirs, concert bands, pep bands, ensembles, symphony orchestra, and jazz combos
The school owns one of the greatest jazz record collections in the world
KU Wind Ensemble performed the world premiere of the symphony "In the Shadow of No Towers" at Carnegie Hall
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA