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Harmony at Lake Land

Understanding Lake Land’s choir

by Gretchen Neal/Editor-in-Chief

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The Lake Land College Choir practices every Tuesday from 7-9:30 in the Luther Student Center stage.
Photo by Elizabeth Schaub

There are plenty of clubs and organizations that students are welcome to join if their interests involve sciences, culture and almost any other subject, but what about students that are interested in the joy of music and singing? Lake Land College’s choir group is an organization in which music-oriented students can feel welcome.

Lake Land’s choir is (ironically) one of the more unheard-of groups at the college, so, to provide more insight, music instructor Nancy Caldwell offered the Navigator some information. Caldwell said that the choir is a joint community-and-college choir. This means that the choir is open to any member of the Lake Land community and surrounding districts. To apply, interested persons need only show up to practices, which are eight Tuesday nights each semester, from 7-9:30 p.m. in the Luther Student Center stage. There are no auditions, everyone is accepted and it is free to join. Each practice has a short break at 8:30, and members take turns bringing in snacks and drinks for the rest of the choir. Interested singers may join the choir at any point of the practice season. Caldwell leaves the decision to join late up to the singer, because of the quick pace of the group. It is best if latecomers are experienced singers who can read music. The choir hosts two concerts each year, one in the fall (the last Sunday before Thanksgiving) and one in the spring (date varies).

Caldwell describes the choir as an amateur group and explains that they sing advanced high school choir music – mostly medleys, songs from Broadway musicals, patriotic tunes and folk music. Each song is practiced four times before the concert, so that there is ample time to perfect the songs. Caldwell says she tries to keep the program varied so that members of the choir are always challenged and continue to receive a learning experience.

In the past, the choir has sung at Brookstone Estates and at a church for an open audience during a celebration of small businesses in Mattoon. Last spring, they were even invited to join the Eastern Illinois University choral department to perform in a mass production of a classical work, the “Carmina Burana”. The choirs together had approximately 200 voices, not including a children’s choir. The singers sang in medieval German, Latin and French, and an orchestra accompanied them.

Students who are interested in joining can register for the choir course, which is one transferable credit hour and can be repeated up to three times. This credit hour is guaranteed to transfer in the state of Illinois. The choir is a good place to meet people of any age group and make friends, and it contains about as many male members as female, so the men’s section of the choir has just as strong a voice as the women’s. The choir is what Caldwell described as “a community outreach” and brings community involvement to Lake Land.  Caldwell also said that the choir gives members a strong sense of accomplishment. “I think there’s a real sense of satisfaction in starting with a piece you’ve never sung before . . . and then hearing it get better and better and better and finally putting on a concert where you’re really proud of what you accomplished, and you look back and say ‘Wow, this has only been two months and look what I did.’”

Practice for this season started in January, so, by the time of this publication, it will be too late to join. This, however, does not mean that interested persons should miss the opportunity to see the choir perform their spring concert, being held on Sunday, Mar. 23 in the theater. It starts at 3 p.m., and cookies and punch will be served afterwards. Admission will be free. Any interested person should come to the first meeting of the fall, which shall be held on the last Tuesday of September. Remember that community members are welcome, so even if you will be graduating this spring, you may still apply. For more information on the choir and choir events, contact Nancy Caldwell at ncaldwel@lakeland.cc.il.us.


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