Advanced Conducting class offers lab choir

Lauren Bird – Staff Writer

In order for students to get more authentic conducting experience, the Advanced Conducting class, taught by Yurii Henriques, has started a lab choir that will meet with a number of volunteer singers each Wednesday evening from 8:15 to 9:30.

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“For the next couple months, the Advanced Conducting class will get real, live experience conducting a piece of choral music with real, live people,” said Henriques. “They will even have a mini-concert in April, a goal for which to shoot for as they begin their journey as conductors.”

Each of the students in the class has picked out a piece of music and will spend the next few months conducting this choir. Nathan Walter, a sophomore in the class, looks forward to the opportunities this experience will give him.

“I think it’ll be a cool experience that simulates real life,” said Walter. “We’ll be working with people of various musical levels. A lot of really good musicians have signed up, but we encourage anyone to come.”

The lab choir offers a different way for the students to learn about conducting.

“There’s some freedom in this,” said Walter. “All of our learning in class so far has been goal-oriented, but in this choir, we’ll be able to apply what we’ve learned and decide for ourselves what we want the choir to do and sound like.”

This can also be a way for the singers in the choir to learn as well. Sophomore Carina Pols was one of the students who showed up for rehearsal on Wednesday.

“It’s a smaller group than most choirs right now,” said Pols. “So we have to learn to listen to everyone else closer. It’s a way to gain more musical understanding.”

The students in the Advanced Conducting class aren’t all music majors, which also makes for a diverse group of conductors.

“It’s a little weird being directed by fellow students since they’re my peers,” said Pols, “but it’s really neat because they all have their own style of conducting and working through the music. They’re all pretty professional, as well.”

Even if the students aren’t planning to be a conductor outside of their time at Dordt, this experience can still be useful for them.

“I see conducting as a definite possibility, but I think it will even help with musicality in general,” said Walter. “We will be placed in the director’s shoes and will be able to see from that point of view when we’re the musicians in a musical group.”

The lab choir will continue to rehearse Wednesday evenings from 8:15 to 9:30. Everyone is encouraged to show up, no matter what their musical background may be.

“You are welcome to come sing anytime,” said Henriques. “It’s fun but also low key. We need more singers!”

More singers in this choir means more opportunity for the students to learn, as well.

“You might look at it as being more work added to your load, but it isn’t really. It’s a lot of fun,” said Pols.

The conducting students are eager to gain a lot of experience and knowledge from this choir.

“Don’t feel like because you missed the first practice, you can’t come,” said Walter. “Anyone can join!”

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