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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Choir chimes into fall Music Activities concert series

Students+practicing+for+their+upcoming+concert.
Photo by Photo by Melanie McBride

Students practicing for their upcoming concert.

Following the return of brass, string and woodwind sounds with this month’s orchestra and band performances, the third part of Texas A&M’s musical trifecta — Choral Activities — is excited to raise their voices with a series of upcoming concerts.

A&M’s Women’s Chorus and Century Singers will be performing Sunday, Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. in Rudder Theater, as well as their respective a cappella groups, One-A-Chord and Century Sounds. Students will have free entry with a student ID and guest tickets are only $10

Travis Angel serves as the associate director of Choral Activities at A&M and leads both of the ensembles in their daily rehearsals. After a year of pre-recorded and live-streamed concerts, Angel said he is grateful that both ensembles have continued to grow.

“A lot of SEC schools did not have a band, choir or orchestra at all last year, and some of them still don’t,” Angel said. “I feel like we were very fortunate to have [the Music Activities Center]; if we’d still been in the old facilities in the [Memorial Student Center], we wouldn’t have had anything at all. We had about 50 students in each choir [last year] … we put in about 40 incoming freshmen into each group. Century Singers has around 80, and Women’s Chorus has around 67.”

For this upcoming performance, Angel said audiences can expect many different types of music from all four ensembles. 

“We’re performing everything from the Beatles to Malaysian children’s songs to Pacabel to spirituals, and we’re doing some music with strings and percussion,” Angel said. “There’s a wide variety of music, and [everyone] should find something they like.”

The most anticipated piece for Century Singers’ public relations manager and marketing junior Maggie Lipscomb is called “All of Us,” and she said the story behind the song, as well as its uplifting cadence, makes it really special.

“One song I’m really excited for this year is called ‘All of Us,’ it’s about the story of Matthew Shepard,” Lipscomb said. “This song is about his story, and how we need to love and accept each other.”
In addition to this weekend‘s performance, the ensembles will soon host a local tour of College Station schools, as well as their annual fall showcase on Nov. 13 at A&M United Methodist Church. Lipscomb said the showcase is one of her favorite performances of the year, given the role students play within planning and hosting it.

“My favorite thing about the fall showcase is that it’s organized entirely by students; the directors don’t really have a say in what we perform, it’s a variety show,” Lipscomb said. “Members can audition for different acts and they can perform any type of music they want as a solo or in small groups.”

Bioenvironmental sciences sophomore Madelyn Lewis is the public relations manager and a member of the Women’s Chorus, and said she is most looking forward to a special tradition that closes out each of their performances.

“I’m looking forward to singing ‘I Believe’, it’s the Women’s Chorus’ signature song we sing at the end of the concert, and we invite all alumni to stand up and hold hands with us and sing this song,” Lewis said. “With this being my non-COVID[-19] year, my first in-person concert where that will be able to happen, I feel like that will be a really special moment.”

Lipscomb said her time in Century Singers has given her a real home at A&M, both through the musical experiences and the social time she has spent with her ensemble. 

“Once you’re involved in choir, you stick with it,” Lipscomb said. “I started choir when I was four, and there hasn’t been a period of time since that I haven’t been in a choir, either at my church or high school or here, it’s a big part of my life. I love Century Singers, it’s the best thing I’ve done in college.”

Echoing Lipscomb’s experience, Lewis said this ensemble has allowed her to continue her passion for performance and find a community within the larger university.

“Singing has always been my passion, I joined choir when I was in middle school. Coming to A&M, I saw Women’s Chorus on social media and I got in contact with David Kipp, the head of Choral Activities, and I’m still involved with it now,” Lewis said. “I’m super involved as PR manager now because I wanted to advertise more about the choir … I feel really connected with the sisterhood we’ve created.” 

Though Angel is a passionate educator, and hopes each of the choir members improves in their musical ability, he said his main goal for students is to create an escape from the day-to-day difficulties of student life.

“Really the most important thing in choir is to have fun doing it,” Angel said. “If you’re not having fun, who cares if it’s exactly precise, if there’s no wrong notes and it’s beautiful, if you’re not having fun? That’s the way you need to look at life. If you ask our choir members what our number one rule is, they’ll tell you it’s to have fun.”
 

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