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, and Conductors' Chorus.

For Fall 2021, the choral ensembles will be held in-person. Short and painless placement hearings are required for all choirs, but only Chamber Choir requires prior preparation.  Please see the Choral Activities site for details about the ensembles, and the Auditions page for specific information and links to sign up.

Auditions will take place during the first week of classes in the Fine Arts Center in room 253, Dr. Thornton's office. For those interested in auditioning early, auditions will be heard via Zoom on Monday, Aug. 30 and Tuesday, Aug. 31. In-person auditions will begin on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Ensemble rehearsals will begin on Wed. Sept. 8 (Chamber Choir, Chorale, & Women's Choir). Conductors' Chorus will begin on Thursday, Sept. 9.

Fall performances are Sat., Nov. 13, 7:30pm (Chamber Choir only) and Sun., Dec. 5, 6pm (all ensembles, dress reh afternoon of performance)

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  (MUS 563, meets MWF 2:30-4:10pm)

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  (MUS 560, meets MW 6-8pm)

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  (MUS 562, meets MWF 12:15-1:15pm)

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   (MUS 518/597C, meets T Th 1-2:15pm)

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.