Community choir

Choir performingSpring 2013 Concert Performance
"Songs of Love"
Thursday April 25
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Dengerink Administration building, room 110
Free and open to the public

About the choir

  • We give two public performances each academic year.
  • Our forty-seven voice choir is comprised of WSU Vancouver students, faculty, staff and volunteers from the local community.
  • In Fall 2012, we rehearse every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00-1:00 in VDEN 110.
  • Our repertoire is diverse and challenging.
  • No experience is necessary. No try-outs are required.

A community choir

  • Participation in the choir is open to everyone.
  • The ability, humor, and passion of instructor Lee Jennings provide an outstanding and fun learning environment.
  • Involvement in the arts has been found to relieve stress and enhance academic performance.
  • Freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors can earn one semester credit by enrolling in Mus 499 University Singers.
  • The course can be repeated for credit.
  • You don't have to be a student or WSU Vancouver employee to join.
  • Students can also join without signing up for Mus 499.

History of the choir

  • The choir was officially established in Fall 2002 with about twenty members.
  • Forming a choir on campus was the idea of former Director of Facilities Operations, Bill Kelley.
  • Bill proposed that WSU Vancouver employees who enjoy singing get together once a week for an hour.
  • Several of the founding members are still active participants.
  • The support of retired music educator Lee Jennings was enlisted to conduct the choir and he is still conducting.
  • Several choir members participated in a Summer 2008 concert tour of the United Kingdom.
  • Choir membership has grown steadily; we now have forty-seven members.
  • Mus 432 was first offered for credit in Spring 2003 to encourage student participation. MUS 432 was replaced by MUS 499 in Fall 2012.
  • We currently have ten registered students (20% of the choir).

A variety of musical styles

  • Our repertoire is very diverse and includes music from all around the world.
  • We've sung in many different languages (Spanish, Latin, and Swahili, to mention a few).
  • The choir sings popular, folk, traditional, classical and sacred pieces, too.
  • We performed "Songs of Nature" by Antonin Dvorak in Fall 2006 and show tunes like "Lullaby of Broadway" and "That's Entertainment."
  • In Spring 2007, we celebrated black authors, arrangers, and composers of the 19th and 20th Centuries; our repertoire included a selection of spirituals including "God's Trombones" by J.W. Johnson and R. Ringwald.
  • Our Fall 2007 concert featured two major works: a medley of fifteen classics by The Beatles and "Gloria" by Vivaldi.
  • The theme for our Spring 2008 concert was music from the theater.
  • Our Fall 2008 concert featured music from the Southern Hemisphere.
  • America Sings was our theme for Spring 2009.
  • In Fall 2009, we performed "Missa Solemnis in B Flat" (a major classical work by Franz Joseph Haydn) accompanied by professional soloists and a chamber orchestra.
  • The program for Fall 2010 was “Requiem” by Faure. Professional soloists and a chamber orchestra accompanied the choir.
  • Our theme for Spring 2011 was “Songs of Love's Lament."
  • We performed two great works at our Fall 2011 concert: “Mass in G” by Franz Schubert and “Songs of Nature” by Antonin Dvorak.
  • Our Spring 2012 concert was on April 25, 2012. The program theme, "Felix and Folks," included three selections by Felix Mendelssohn and an assortment of folk songs.\
  • Works of Randall Thompson was the theme of our Fall 2012 program, which featured "Frostiana" (poems of Robert Frost set to music).

Funding support for the 2012-13 academic year

  • The WSU Vancouver Services and Activities (S&A) Fees Committee awarded the choir $3,000 for operating expenses.
  • We have also received contributions from individual donors including members of the choir.

Biographical notes

  • Lee Jennings has a long record as an educator and as a choral director. In addition to the WSU Vancouver Choir and University Singers, he is Director of Music for St. Johns Presbyterian Church in Camas and the Columbia Choral Ensemble, an international touring choir that recently returned from a performance tour of the United Kingdom.
  • In 2010, Lee agreed to serve as conductor of the newly established WSU Vancouver student orchestra.
  • Lee holds degrees from Westminster College and the University of Idaho with additional study at the University of Utah and the University of Washington.
  • Conducting teachers who influenced Lee include Walter Teutsch, Lee Kjelson, Harold Wolf and Roger Wagner.