The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Vocal/Choral Ensembles

JOIN A CHORAL ENSEMBLE!   (You will love it)

Please see the Choral Activities website for more information about Chamber Choir, University Chorale, Women's Choir (not offered Spring 2021), and Conductors' Chorus.

For Spring 2021, the Chamber Choir and Conductor's Chorus will be in-person, when possible. Chorale will be held remotely.  Short and painless placement hearings (via Zoom) are required for all choirs, but prior preparation is only required for Chamber Choir.  Please see the Choral Activities site for details about the ensembles, and the Auditions page for how to sign up.

Chamber Choir auditions (online) will take place on Wed. Feb. 3 and Fri. Feb. 5 during the 2:30-4pm class time, and rehearsals begin on Feb. 8. Please see the Choral Auditions page to access the audition excerpt and to sign up for an audition time.

For those interested in auditioning for University Chorale, please email Dr. Paparo at to set up a time (pre-semester or the first week). Rehearsals begin on February 1.

If you are interested in singing in Conductors' Chorus, please email Dr. Thornton at to set up an audition time. Rehearsals begin on February 9.

General info: Ensembles are open to all UMass Amherst students, subject to auditions held at the beginning of each semester. All ensembles appear in concert on campus several times a year. Ensembles have also been selected to represent UMass Amherst at conventions and festivals that have included Symphony Hall in Springfield, MA; the Washington, D.C. home of the Marine Band; and the Capitol Building in Boston.

Chamber Choir

Tony Thornton, director
Chamber Choir performs a core repertoire chosen from the greatest classical American and European choral traditions as well as from other parts of the world. Recent performances include the Fauré Requiem, Bach St. John Passion, the Brahms Requiem, Handel's Messiah and Missa Gaia by the Paul Winter Consort.

University Chorale

Stephen A. Paparo, director
Repertoire chosen to provide a wide range of choral experience representing many traditions. Recent performances include Bach's Magnificat, Mendelssohn's Lauda Sion, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, Randall Thompson's Alleluia plus African-American spirituals, Latin-American songs, Lullabies and Spring Night's Moon: settings of 4 Japanese tanka. The university community is particularly encouraged to audition.

Women's Choir  (not offered Spring 2021)

Tony Thornton, director
Comprised primarily of non-major undergraduate and graduate students, Women's Choir performs a wide variety of choral literature written for treble voices, including world music and works with instrumental accompaniment. The ability to read music is not required; open to Five College students with or without previous choral experience.

Conductors' Chorus

Tony Thornton, faculty coordinator
The Conductors' Chorus, a chamber ensemble of 24-32 singers, is comprised of the graduate Choral Conducting majors and other interested advanced students, with the purpose of providing conducting pedagogy experiences for the Graduate Choral Conducting students. The Chorus performs significant repertoire from all periods, including masterworks with chamber orchestra. Conductors' Chorus fulfills (with instructor and advisor permission) the ensemble requirement for music majors and minors.

Vocal Jazz Ensemble 

Catherine Jensen-Hole, director  (See the Jazz Ensembles webpage for details & how to audition)
The primary ensemble for vocal jazz studies at UMass Amherst, it has been named "Best Collegiate Jazz Choir" by DownBeat magazine. Consisting of 8-12 singers and a rhythm section that is often augmented by horns, the ensemble performs both standard and contemporary jazz repertoire arranged by faculty, students and nationally recognized vocal jazz arrangers.

Opera Workshop

Marjorie Melnick, William Hite, & Jamie-Rose Guarrine, coordinators (Voice faculty)
A Performance Workshop for singers; A four-semester sequence designed for the future educator and performer alike. Students acquire lyric stage and production skills. Semester II culminates in a Scenes program; Semesters III and IV study and present a full operatic production. Periodic collaboration with the University Orchestra. Admission is by audition or instructor approval regardless of sequence.