Community Choir Shows Growth With Winter Concert

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Mitchell Frantz, Reporter

Heading into its third year of existence, the Misericordia University Community Choir showed off how much it has grown with its annual Christmas concert held Dec. 4 in Lemmond Theater where it featured more members and enjoyed more community response.

The choir is led by director Matthew Rupcich and is comprised of a mix of 35 students, community members, faculty, staff and alumni. The choir is a four-part ensemble of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses.

Junior speech language pathology major Mollie Langan enjoys the familiarity aspect the choir had when she first transitioned to college.

“I’ve done choir pretty much my whole life,” said Langan, who sings alto. “I started doing it as soon as they let me in grade school and I did it all through high school and sang at my church. When I came to Misericordia, I was interested in joining a choir because I wanted something familiar that I had been doing all my life to help ease the college transition.”

Senior psychology major Lizzie Stumpf, who sings soprano, joined for similar reasons, although the choir was not around during her first year.

“I sang all throughout high school,” she said. “Up until then, I really enjoyed it and wanted to continue it. My freshman year, we did not have the choir, so I was really excited to join when it came around.”

The performance varied in repertoire, with the concert ranging from contemporary favorites like “O Come All Ye Faithful” all the way to pieces sung in German, such as “Ich Will den Namen Gottes “by Bach.

The choir has gotten bigger and better every year, according to the members.

“My freshman year was the first year the community choir existed,” said Langan. “We’ve definitely gotten bigger. We have more men, which is always good because choir is only as good as its male sections. Also, just our general reception among the MU community has really gone up. We started selling tickets in Banks now, and we have the funds to acquire accompanists and brass.”

Stumpf enjoys how the growth has allowed her to become close with community members she would not otherwise have met.

“We’ve all become really good friends,” she said. “There’s not really a difference between community members and students at this point. We’re all just members and we’re all just friends who help each other out.”

Langan said the community feeling was never more evident than last spring when the choir pulled a joke on tenor Dawson Kerch.

“Last spring, one of our male singers, Dawson, got a solo but missed one of the rehearsals,” she explained. “One of his lines involved the name ‘David,’ so we secretly changed the name from ‘David’ to ‘Dawson’ and when we sang at the dress rehearsal, we all sang ‘Dawson.’ He turned around and looked so betrayed, but it was so funny. That’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever done just because it was great.”

The funny moment has gone a long way to improving the bond of the choir, Langan said, as does going out to dinner after Sunday rehearsals and having a reception with family members and friends of choir members after concerts.

While the semester is currently winding down, the choir is interested in recruiting more members for the 2020 spring semester.

“Come join! There’s no harm in trying. The conductor is great; we are all really nice and really welcoming. You’ll have a lot of fun,” said Stumpf.

Langan further echoed Stumpf’s  statement, saying, “I understand that it looks intimidating because it’s a large group of people and only about half of them go to school here and the other half are members of the community, but we’re all here for the same reason. We love to sing. We love to make music and we love to share that music with everyone else. It’s not as scary as you think it is. Once you get your foot in, which shouldn’t take more than a rehearsal or two, you’re going to be welcomed into the group with open arms. The more singers, the merrier.”

Anyone interested in joining the choir for the spring semester can contact Johnna Evans at jevans@misericordia.edu.