By: Bailey O’Neil
Aurora, IL-From March 18th through the 22nd, Aurora University choirs performed throughout Southern Wisconsin on their annual choir tour. The tour included performances at George Williams College, various churches, and a few high schools in that area. The goal of choir tour is largely recruitment, hence the visits to the high schools. Another reason is gaining recognition of the Aurora University choral program.
This year, the George Williams College performance was part of the university’s “Sundays at 4” program, and it drew a crowd of almost 200 people. “The concert built in energy; maybe the choir was still getting settled in the space for the first song or so, but after a couple of pieces, the performances were really fun and energetic,” Amy Gerbode, an audience member at that concert, said. “It takes a lot of drive and preparation to do something like that, and all that work really shows.”
The University Chorale is the primary choir that performs, but a few subsets of the group perform as well. “Members perform a variety of choral music, ranging from renaissance to contemporary, preparing quality choral literature for performance,” the excerpt on the George Williams program reads.
In addition to the Chorale, the Chamber Choir (a smaller group with ten people) performs slightly more difficult music, ranging from Johannes Brahms to The Beatles. Then there are two a cappella groups, The Blue Notes and S.A.S.S. (Spartan a cappella Swingtime Singers), who perform as well, usually more often at the high schools. The Blue Notes typically sing mostly pop a cappella music while S.A.S.S. covers both pop as well as classic doo-wop a cappella music. “I like how the group grows closer together and the music really gets settled during choir tour,” junior Grace Politowicz, co-director of S.A.S.S., said. “Our performance comes alive when we have all those different audiences and have to do things over and over again.”
As for the participants in the choir, tour is always a great experience. The few days spent together brings the choir closer and improves the way the group sings with each other. “We really grow into a family on tour,” senior Joelle Kasprisin said. “It helps the choir sound even better and it helps all of us get to know each other.” In the past, the choirs have gone to St. Louis, Indianapolis, the Quad Cities, and Memphis. Every time, the result is the same.
As for people new to the choirs, the feeling is mutual. “It was a good experience,” newly transferred junior Glenn Wright said. “Just getting comfortable with performing at a lot of different areas and understanding how to control your adrenaline is really helpful, you can either be scared or you can be excited about it.” Wright, as well as most of the choir, chose to be excited about it.
The annual choir tour is an important tradition at Aurora University. It serves as both a recruitment tool as well as a team building weekend for the choirs. And the music that is performed and perfected can touch so many different people through this tour. “It’s unique and a lot of fun,” Gerbode said. “Those kids are great.”