WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY
The choral program at West Chester has a long and proud tradition. We are an important part of the University's cultural life, with 250 or more students enrolled each semester in one of eight ensembles, performing more than a dozen concerts annually for large and appreciative audiences. Each year, thousands of people hear a West Chester choir—not only on campus but through off-campus performances in Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, throughout Pennsylvania, and in California, Florida, the desert Southwest, and Europe, as well as at professional conferences. Concert Choir and Mastersingers have performed several times at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia. Together, WCU choirs sing an amazing range of repertory: large choral masterworks with orchestra (both the WCU Symphony Orchestra and professional ensembles like the Philadelphia Classical Symphony), shorter classical pieces, spirituals and folk songs, world music, choruses from opera and musical theatre, and vocal jazz.
Beyond concerts, we regularly bring to campus internationally renowned guest composers and clinicians, have an active ACDA student chapter, and offer educational workshops for teachers and high school students and a graduate M.M. degree in choral conducting. Most importantly, those involved in the WCU choral program find community—a place where singing abounds, where artistry flourishes, and where lifelong relationships begin.
On this web page, learn more about our choirs, hear from our students about their experiences, read about our repertory, and learn about our clinics and workshops. See our concert calendar for upcoming events and "like" our Facebook page. Whether you are a high school student intending to study music, a teacher interested in continuing education, or a community member who loves choral music, we hope you will be in touch with us and come hear us sing!
The M.M. in Choral Conducting is intended for serious students who want to further their musical knowledge and their gestural abilities on the podium. The core program of study includes intensive score analysis and instruction in advanced conducting techniques. Class and private conducting study, ensemble participation, coursework in choral literature and related topics, and supervised podium time with University choirs allows each student to grow to his or her full potential. Students who enter the M.M. degree will add to the depth of their knowledge about choral music, its style and performance practice, and the application of these in effective choral rehearsals and performances. Guidelines for application to the M.M. in choral conducting may be found on the Wells School of Music website. Applicants are expected to have experience conducting public school, church, and/or community choirs prior to application. Graduate fellowships and assistantships for M.M. choral conducting candidates are available.
Dr. David DeVenney
This intensive week of conducting study, combined with repertory sessions and score study and analysis techniques, is designed primarily for practicing public school teacher, graduate music students, and church musicians. Dr. David Rayl, Director of Choral Programs at Michigan State University, will join the WCU choral faculty for the event. Morning and evening sessions will focus on music of various historical style periods (with an emphasis on works suitable for use with educational choirs) and afternoons on conducting a major work. On Saturday morning, a chamber orchestra will be available for a final coaching on this work. Participants may register as conducting fellows (with podium time) for $500 (limited to 12 participants), or as workshop observers for $200 (unlimited enrollment). College and university students can register as observers for only $100, with college ID. For an additional cost, participants may receive Pennsylvania Commonwealth Act 48 credits, or may register for University graduate credits (3).
ABOUT DAVID RAYL
David Rayl is director of choral programs and associate dean for graduate studies and research at the MSU College of Music. Over the past 17 years he has mentored and served as principal conducting teacher to well over 100 graduate students in choral conducting. Under his baton MSU’s University Chorale appeared at the National and Central Division conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (2007, 2006) and the national meeting of the College Music Society (2002). He has also prepared the Chorale for eight sets of performances with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and regularly serves as guest conductor with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra, leading large-scale choral-orchestral works.
His international engagements include the National Center for the Performing Arts and the China Conservatory in Beijing; Maggio Musicale in Florence; the Busan International Choral Festival in South Korea; the VII Festival Internaçional de Música de Camera do Pará, in Belem, Brazil; the II Festival de Corais in Brasilia, Brazil; the Painel Unicanto de Regencia Coral in Londrina, Brazil; and the national conference of the Associação Brasileira de Regentes de Coros in Goiania, Brazil.
Rayl has received MSU’s University Distinguished Faculty Award (2013) and the Simmons
Chivukula Award for Academic Leadership (2019), and the College of Music’s Withrow
Award for Excellence in Teaching (2009).
Dr. David DeVenney
HIGH SCHOOL SUMMER MUSIC INSTITUTE
We are pleased to offer a much-expanded summer choral camp will be offered for high school students as part of the WCU High School Summer Music Institute. Highlights will include a week of rehearsal on music leading to a public performance; voice lessons; and, for those interested, conducting lessons. Students are housed in University dormitories and eat in the University dining hall. The workshop is hosted and led by the WCU choral and voice faculty.
Dr. Ryan Kelly
HIGH SCHOOL HONORS CHOIR
The next High School Honor Choir will be held on Friday, September 28, 2018, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. in Swope Music Building. High school teachers are invited to send a mixed quartet of their best students to participate in this event. The one-day workshop includes an intensive rehearsal of several pieces of music for performance later in the day. (Music will be provided in advance of the day). Participants will also receive a small-group voice lesson from one of the Wells School of Music's voice faculty. At 2:30 p.m., the Honor Choir will give a brief public performance, followed by a chance to hear a short concert from the WCU Concert Choir. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet and chat with current WCU music students during lunch in the University dining hall. For their teachers, the WCU choral faculty will offer a reading session of new music suitable for high school choirs..
Dr. David DeVenney