By Carolyn Irvine
Music majors are not the only people who can use and develop their musical talents at BYU.
Ron Staheli, director of choral activities at BYU, said that over half of the members of BYU’s highly select University Singers are not music majors.
“A bother to me is when I hear students who sing really well, and when I ask them if they’ve ever auditioned for a choir they say they don’t think they could ever make it,” Staheli said.
There are four audition choirs at BYU. Students can try out for the Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus, Concert Choir and University Singers. In addition, University Chorale membership does not require an audition.
Katie Jones, a senior majoring in teaching English as a second language, has participated in Women’s Chorus and University Chorale for the past year and a half.
“There are opportunities for everybody. Anyone can get in if they have what it takes,” Jones said.
Staheli said the Men’s and Women’s Choruses are not as hard to get into. He said the members must sing well, but do not have to have an extensive music background.
The Concert Choir and BYU Singers, however, have a stiffer audition process, Staheli said. Members of these highly select choirs must have more developed voices and good sight-reading skills, he said.
Staheli said many of the members chosen for these choirs have previously been involved in other BYU choirs.
Joni Jensen, former conductor of the Women’s Chorus, said women from the Women’s Chorus often try to get into higher choirs once they feel more advanced.
This does not mean the Women’s and Men’s Choruses produce low-caliber music, Jensen said. She said the Women’s Chorus is full of talented singers.
“The Women’s Chorus directors are incredible. Even though they are graduate students, they are really high caliber,” Jones said.
Jones said there is something unique about singing with BYU choirs.
“It’s really neat to sing in a choir where they bring in gospel principles,” Jones said.