Trinityâ€™s Chamber Singers have been invited to participate in two special events this spring.
The first is the Texas Music Educators Association Convention which will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The Chamber Singers are one of only two collegiate choirs in the state who were selected to perform at the convention.
â€œItâ€™s a huge honor to be selected for something like this, especially for a school our size,â€ said Gary Seighman, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. â€œA school the size of Trinity rarely gets invited to perform because we are competing against large universities that are ten times our size.â€
The TMEA Convention is the largest music educator event in the world. It will be attended by over 25,000 music teachers, administrators and parents from around the country. The performance by the Chamber Singers will be an hour long.
â€œMost of the students in our choir are not music majors, and we have no graduate students unlike other collegiate choirs,â€ Seighman said. â€œItâ€™s virtually unheard of for a group like that to get selected for such an honor. Iâ€™ve gotten emails from choral directors at other schools I donâ€™t know congratulating me and saying that this is a victory for liberal arts education.â€
Junior Liezelle Lopez, a member of the Chamber Singers, attended the convention as part of the all-state mixed choir her senior year of high school.
â€œItâ€™s a totally different experience to be able to perform at the convention in college,â€ Lopez said. â€œIt was at that convention that I met Dr. Seighman and saw that thereâ€™s a good choral program at Trinity, which was a big deciding factor in my choice to come here.â€
The second event in which the Chamber Singers will be participating is a ten-day tour along the West Coast over spring break March 5â€” March 15. The singers will be performing at churches and schools in Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego.
â€œItâ€™s by no means a vacation,â€ Seighman said. â€œWeâ€™re visiting local high schools, doing some recruiting and going to local chapters of alumni events. Weâ€™ll be on a bus for ten days straight working our tails off performing and getting exposure for the university.â€
Recruiting students at high schools along the West Coast will be a large focus of the tour.
â€œI love the idea of being able to spread Trinity through music,â€ said junior James Dykman, a member of the Chambers Singers. â€œThis isnâ€™t just about going places and singing for fun, but itâ€™s also about recruitment. Trinity is known within the sphere of many liberal arts and Texas schools, but there are a ton of west and east coast schools that lose the opportunity to hear about great schools like Trinity.â€
The Chamber Singers will also be collaborating with local musicians, including Trinity alumni, the conductor of the Napa Symphony and the choir of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. In addition, they will be doing a workshop with the director of Seattle Pro Musica.
â€œIt gives you a taste of what a professional choir would do, because you go the day of to a brand new space and don’t know what you’re getting yourself into and then you sing in just a few hours,â€ said Lopez.
The Chamber Singers practice up to four hours per day and have been preparing the songs they will be performing since last semester.
â€œIt demands a lot of vocal stamina and mental alertness, because itâ€™s a lot of music in a lot of different foreign languagesâ€”and itâ€™s all memorized,â€ Â Seighman said.
â€œItâ€™s astounding that weâ€™re being asked to do these things,â€ Dykman said. â€œThe opportunity for such a small, liberal arts school to show itself really demonstrates not only the beauty of our director, but also the talent of our singers and all the hard work weâ€™ve put into it.â€