The USD Chamber Singers performed at the Spring Choral Showcase on Sunday, Feb. 28. In previous years, the three USD choirs would perform together, but due to COVID-19 performances had to be adjusted.
The Chamber Singers is the premiere vocal ensemble at USD with a repertoire of primarily a cappella style performances.
Dr. David Holdhusen, conductor of USD Chamber Singers, said the typical 40-member choir is currently comprised of 32 undergraduate and graduate students due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“It is my hope that if everything goes back to normal for the fall, we will be back at 40,” Holdhusen said.
The Spring Choral Showcase consisted of a total of 10 pieces varying between being performed as a large group and small groups of 8-10, as well as separate men’s and women’s groups for the treble pieces.
“Everything that we are doing is a cappella and it is a wide range of music, everything from an early Renaissance double-choir piece to Cohen, “Hallelujah” from “Shrek” and “Africa,” the Toto song,” Holdhusen said.
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Senior K-12 vocal music education major and USD Chamber Singers Vice President Nate Engbers said this new performance setup is unique because of COVID-19 and trying to limit the amount of time the choir is together as a whole.
“It is interesting, a group of eight sounds completely different than a group of 32, you know, so it is kind of cool that you can pick out and hear individual voices,” Engbers said.
Senior music education major and President of USD Chamber Singers Emily Muirhead said she has been involved with the choir since her freshman year and this year has brought some changes amid the pandemic.
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“We’ve changed our rehearsal setups from previous years. You know, normally, we just do full group music, but right now we have some smaller groups going on,” Muirhead said. “Those are really cool opportunities that we don’t normally look for. But, you know, the pandemic has allowed us this opportunity to get creative and do some different things.”
The USD Chamber Singers have been rehearsing in the band room and in smaller groups along with wearing masks to uphold COVID-19 safety precautions.
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The Spring Choral Showcase attendance was by invitation only and was livestreamed on the USD webpage.