Virginia Wesleyan University is home to many official sports teams, fraternities and sororities, yet not many students know about the other clubs on campus to get involved with. Camerata Choir is one of these clubs that is far more than what may meet the eye.
“Our mission is to make music and become a community of creatives,” stated Alto President Aleigha Johnson. The executive board is made up of Jackson Simmons, Aleigha Johnson, Joey Mueller and Rachel DeMay.
Each section of the choir has a section president who is in charge of making sure their group is in order while also being a mentor to the choir members.
The collaboration that goes into each one of their performance pieces goes beyond just knowing the words. They often discuss how the music impacts them and makes them feel, helping them to become a more cohesive group. The club also structures mentoring from older students to younger students in their own form of big-little relationships.
“It gives the freshmen sort of a guide or someone they can go to so they don’t feel so new,” said Tenor President Jackson Simmons about the mentoring program.
The Camerata choir often travels to different venues up and down the east coast and across the globe to show off their singing skill. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the choir had traveled to New York City, Richmond and Washington, D.C. to perform.
They had planned international trips to China and Italy which were both unfortunately canceled due to the pandemic. The aim was to spread culture to different countries through different music styles and performances.
All Choir performances have been made virtual to accommodate the new Pandemic guideline. For practice the Camerata Choir only meets three times a week, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, but their practices have become slightly modified with the new COVID-19 restrictions.
Instead of a 50-minute practice with a beginning stretch, announcements, followed by singing, they are now only allowed to practice for 30 minutes at one time, while still wearing their masks, and then must all leave to let the room air out for a certain period of time. This is due to fear of spread of the virus given that singing releases far more saliva particles than regular talking does.
To accompany these shortened practices, the singers are required to be six feet apart and have been equipped with specially designed singing masks.
The choir has had to make some adjustments to how they work together and sing as a unit due to the new restrictions.
“Being six-feet apart has made it difficult for the sections to hear each other parts,” Johnson told the interviewer. The situations have changed but Camerata Choir is back and ready to “make music and become a family.”
By: Robert Solomon