UM-Flint Music Department Shares Opportunities with More than Just Majors

Donald Lierman , Writer

Has Euterpe been murmuring sweet somethings in your dreams? Are you ready to hearken to that glorious, rhythmic muse and fulfill your creative essence?

The UM-Flint Department of Music provides the avenue to pursue your passion for music as well as a potential stepping stone in the pursuance of a career in various associated fields. There are a number of ensembles and groups in which those who want to participate may become involved in.

“The Chorale, the Jazz Ensemble, the Orchestra and the Wind Symphony do not require auditions,” said UM-Flint Associate Professor of Music and Department Chair Chris Heidenreich. “It’s best to contact the conductor/director of the group in advance and share your previous experience in music, but students only need to register in advance.

“And, here is the big one, students come can come from any college or school on campus, you do not have to be a music major to play in our ensembles. Each course is one hour, and students receive a credit in Fine Arts for their participation.”

The Music Department has been allowing students to follow their creative pursuits for 40 years. It is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. One of the advantages of the school’s music program is the more personalized and informal atmosphere.

If your artistic aspirations are geared to the vocal realm, the department offers the opportunity to test your pipes with the University Chorale and the Chamber Singers. Associate Professor of Music Gabriela Hristova directs the groups.

“The University Chorale is the large choral ensemble on the UM-Flint campus,” said Hristova. “It is open to all college students without audition. The students in the University Chorale enjoy learning about ensemble, singing and performing together…rehearsals are on Monday and Wednesday with occasional sectional rehearsals on Fridays.”

Some of the performances the University Chorale presents during the academic year include the Sounds of the Season Concert, Vocal Arts Concert, the Music Department MusiCollage Concert as well as at other university functions such as inaugural addresses and graduations.

The Chamber Singers is a smaller group, on the other hand, requiring auditions as it is more of a select ensemble.

“The group performs a wide variety of vocal music and seeks to promote new choral literature as well as to preserve less common choral works,” said Hristova. “The students in this ensemble demonstrate strong commitment to the artistic goals of the group and love for choral singing. It is the mission of the Chamber singers to serve as ambassadors for the University of Michigan-Flint, to offer a high level of performance artistry and to share their art with the Flint community.

“The group has performed at conferences and festivals, and takes recruiting local tours annually. This coming March, the group will travel to Madison, Wisconsin to perform in concert with the Madison Festival Chorus. “

Participation in the vocal groups enhances the student experience at the university, giving members the opportunity to travel and meet others of like mind. Amanda Rodman, a UM-Flint senior, is majoring in vocal performance.

“I have been singing in the University Chorale and Chamber Singers for the last few years,” said Rodman. “These ensembles have been a huge part of my university experience and life in general. I have had days where I feel overwhelmed, but I know that I can go into these choral ensembles and pour my heart out into the music being made.”

The Department of Music is noted for not only the challenging academic atmosphere but the quality of its performances. The students involved never cease to amaze audiences and each other alike.

“My time spent in the performing ensembles at UM-Flint have been some of the most beneficial experiences of my life so far,” said Austin Tripp, UM-Flint junior. “Collaborating with my peers, including music majors and non-majors alike, to create something bigger than ourselves is nothing short of amazing and I feel that the level of student musicianship on campus is continuing to rise.”

The opportunity to explore and nurture one’s talents makes for a great scholastic experience as well as a means of appeasing Euterpe–no one wants to fall on the bad graces of the music muse. She and Calliope might put in a nasty word to her daddy and Zeus is not one to cross. If you stay in their good graces, the blessings are many.

For further information, contact the Department of Music at [email protected].