Each of the many BJU choirs is unique in size, student classification and musical style, yet they all provide opportunities for students to cultivate relationships.
Freshman Drew Williquette said he joined University Singers for the experience of singing in a different type of choir, as he previously had sung only in church choirs.
Williquette said he has made many friends through choir and enjoys the occasional singspirations and activities the choir members have together. Williquette said he appreciates the diversity of students who compose University Singers.
“There are a lot of different majors represented, but we have that common bond in that we all love music and we all want to learn music,” Williquette said.
Dr. Eliezer Yanson, director of University Singers and Lyric Choir, said one aspect of University Singers that helps freshmen make friends is the size of the choir. Yanson said the choir is especially large this year, currently numbering 114 students.
In addition to size, Yanson said the regular University Singer lunches help students get to know each other better. Because the choir practices right after chapel, many of the choir members go to lunch together before their next class.
Senior Alex Barnhart has been in University Singers and the Collegiate Choir, and he is now in Concert Choir.
Barnhart said she has enjoyed moving through the various choirs with students who started in University Singers with her.
“Having an outlet in music and singing is one thing, but it isn’t nearly as much so if you’re not enjoying the people that you’re singing with,” Barnhart said.
Barnhart said she has been able to meet people from many different majors that she wouldn’t have been able to meet had choir not brought them all together.
“We’re all from different majors, but we work together to make something really beautiful,” Barnhart said.
Barnhart said she is still best friends with her choir buddy from her freshman year.
Senior Hannah Brown is in her second semester of singing in Chorale, and she also sang in Concert Choir for three semesters.
Because she transferred to BJU second semester of her sophomore year, Brown said this situation made it a little harder for her to become incorporated into choir than if she had started off in choir as a freshman.
However, Brown has toured with both choirs, and she said the choir trips really helped her get to know her choir members and make solid friendships. Brown said she especially loves the experience of singing with trained singers in Chorale who really enjoy what they’re doing.
“It’s amazing to be a blessing to people by doing something we love,” Brown said.
Sophomore Kalista Matthews spent her freshman year in University Singers and is now in Collegiate Choir. Matthews said through choir she has had the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall and at the Biltmore estate in Asheville, N.C.
Matthews said she loved how the choir trips brought the students closer together, and she was also excited to continue on to Collegiate Choir with so many people she already knew from University Singers.
Matthews said choir is a unique atmosphere for establishing relationships.
“There’s a different kind of relationship there than you have with someone you sit in class with,” Matthews said, “It’s a different atmosphere.”
Sophomore Ben Knoedler, a member of Concert Choir, said he has developed good friendships in choir through the many hours spent together in practice each week.
In addition, Knoedler said the choir usually gets together for an activity each semester to get to know each other better. Knoedler said his favorite aspect of choir is the literature they sing.
“We do all the best choral composers, and I’m studying to be a choral composer, so I like to see all the literature that comes through,” Knoedler said. “We sing 10 or 15 new songs every couple months.”
Senior SaraRose Lefler participated in choir her freshman year.
“As a freshman, it was a great opportunity to share memories and experiences,” Lefler said. “It felt like a family.”
Although Lefler’s schedule has kept her out of choir after her freshman year, she still has friends from the experience.
“I met most of my initial friendships in choir, and I kept some of those friendships all four years of college,” Lefler said.