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The Singing Men of Ohio take the stage at rehearsal last year for the Choral and Orchestral concert. Tuesday’s concert will feature several choirs and the Ohio University Symphony Orchestra. (Alayna Steele | File Photo)

Ohio choirs to showcase growth and flavorful variety at concert

A typical day in a choir member’s life can include songs about Starbucks to South African tunes.

A growing choir program will have the chance to show its repertoire for the first time this semester as the Ohio University Women’s Ensemble, Singing Men of Ohio and Ohio University Singers perform at First United Methodist Church on Tuesday night.

The choirs will be performing different selections of world folk and German romantic music, said Paul Mayhew, conductor of Women’s Ensemble and assistant professor of music education.

“I try in the year to do something from every historic era and try to do a selection of languages,” Mayhew explained.

This time around that means the Women’s Ensemble will be performing a Mexican folk song, contemporary poetry written by Sara Teasdale and even a show tune-style song, “Taylor the Latte Boy.”

The Women’s Ensemble, formerly known as Women’s Chorale, has seen considerable growth over the last semester, jumping from 68 singers during Fall Semester to 91 members now, Mayhew said.

Women’s Ensemble isn’t the only choir growing either. Singing Men of Ohio has swelled from the low seventies to 86 members this semester, said Daniel Hall, conductor of Singing Men of Ohio and Ohio University Singers.

“There’s been a lot of growth and this is a good opportunity for people to hear it,” Hall said. “They’ll hear and see a real difference in the program.”

SMO will perform a mix of standards the group regularly performs in addition to newer pieces that include music from both Zambia and South Africa.

On the other hand, University Singers will feature two soloists, Sara Richardson and Rebecca Gierhart on two German pieces mixed-in with the folk music, Hall said.

“It’ll be a fun concert, and by fun I mean flavorful,” Hall said. “Whenever you have folk music, there are rhythms and sounds that people aren’t used to hearing. There’s a nice variety.”

Both Women’s Ensemble and SMO are also using the concert to prepare for two different tours before and during spring break.

Women’s Ensemble leaves Friday to visit and perform at different spots in the Carolinas while SMO leaves Thursday to go as far as Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, ending up back in Columbus before spring break ends.

“This is something we look forward to all year long,” said Chris Denhart, a four-year member of SMO and a senior studying economics said. “It’s the icing on the cake for SMO … We bond a lot and tell a lot of weird stories and get to know one another.”



If You Go:

What: Winter Showcase featuring Ohio University Women’s Ensemble, Singing Men of Ohio and Ohio University Singers

Where: First United Methodist Church, 2 S. College St.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Admission: Free

This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Choirs show flavorful growth"

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