A year ago, I needed to pick my classes for the fall semester. I had one of three required fine art credits from taking a viola lesson (bad choice). I weighed my options of doing a music, visual, or maybe performing art class but ultimately decided to take a year of choir. Sure I had a year of choir in high school in which I was one of two boys but that hardly makes me a choral expert. Male chorus, the non-audition ensemble for men at Concordia it was going to be. I was definitely a little bit intimidated by the possibility of having to do an placement audition but we just sang a scale for our Professor on the first day and he organized into Bass, Baritone, Tenor 2, and Tenor 1 sections. I have the wonderful position of a baritone. Over the course of last and continuing into this semester I have found male chorus to be one of the greatest classes. Not only is Dr. von Kampen knowledgeable but he is encouraging rather than condescending towards those of us that are pretty terrible. He has a way of motivating us to do better that I have never seen done so well from another teacher that when he says we need to sound like men, that means something.
Perhaps the critical aspect of male chorus rests in the male camaraderie. We joke in male chorus. A lot. I’m not the most vocal about things but everyone seems very free to just be a goofball in a way that most other classes don’t have. I’m sure the presence of so much testosterone has much to do with it but spending an hour three days a week with 35 other guys doesn’t feel like work even though it is though and we are pushing towards the goal of sounding great. But the key is that I am a piece of an organism which changes as each of the parts do.
Also, we sound really quite nice.