The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Sing it loud

Doreen Irwin, City College Choir Director, and student choir members work through a piece of music for their upcoming winter concert season, Oct. 26 in the Auditorium. Photo by || Cyrette Smith || [email protected]

Song has the power to uplift the spirit and inspire generations. The City College Choir is full of new faces and voices this year, and its roster is bursting at the seams with a slew of talented vocalists.

While the auditorium is still under construction, and to accommodate more students, the City College Choir relocated its performances off campus this semester after finding that it needed to combine two choral classes with over 40 students each.

“The auditorium was too big and too old,” says Andrew Flett, a music instructional assistant at City College who also manages publicity for the choir’s performances. “The acoustics don’t sound right in there, so we do all of our performances in local churches.”

Some point to popular culture as the reason for increased enrollment.

“I think ‘Glee’ is probably a big reason the attendance has gone up,” say Avery McCall, a music major in the City College Choir. “You see what is possible to do in a choir. It can be really fun and creative, instead of still and stiff like some people still think from the old church choir image.”

Doreen Irwin, a music professor at City College for over 35 years, directs the choir and also teaches voice and piano classes. With choir concerts, vocal showcases and piano recitals, Irwin says she hasn’t found time to watch Fox’s new hit.

“I’ve never seen it because I work on Tuesday nights,” Irwin says. “I do have my students watch ‘American Idol,’ though. It helps them with stage presence.”

But, while some attribute the popularity of participation in the choir to the popular television show, others aren’t convinced.

“I think people see the work we put into our programs, and they want to be a part of it,” says Garrett Toles, a 20-year-old business major at City College.

Toles, in his second semester at City College, says he is excited to learn from Irwin’s experience.

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Flett, the instructional asistant, works closely with the choir and with Irwin to keep the choir in good vocal shape and in the spotlight. Flett is also passionate about music composition and says choral music has always been a part of his life.

“I fell in love with my wife at her first choral concert at UC Berkeley,” Flett says. “It’s something we do together. Music has always been a part of my family life.”

Flett coordinates the music department’s concerts and attends rehearsals to help Irwin coach the choir into performance shape.

“It’s really exciting when we have concerts,” Flett says. “It’s good to see when the students’ hard work pays off.”

The choir recently finished its first concert series and is now working on its Christmas program.

“The Christmas concert is a major work,” Flett says. “This year we have an especially hard piece by Antonio Vivaldi. It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of commitment.”

Irwin says she enjoys seeing fresh, new faces in her classrooms every semester. Prospective choir members are not required to audition for the choir, but according to Irwin, “You have to know how to sing.”

“I listen to all of my students on the first day of class,” says Irwin. “Usually students aren’t interested in choir unless they can sing. It’s not exactly an audition, but you have to know how to sing before you get here.”

Although new students sometimes lack consistency and don’t realize the commitment they need to make to the choir, Irwin says she still enjoys starting from scratch each semester.

“We get new students every semester, and a lot of them are really good,” Irwin says. “That’s what is exciting about the choir.”

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