The University Chorus of Ohio State Mansfield is the campus’s official music-making ensemble. It is a mixed ensemble (male and female) whose membership is open to all students, faculty and staff of both OSU-Mansfield and North Central State College as well as to members of the Greater Mansfield Community.
Ohio State students can take University Chorus for two academic credits (Music 2203.03). Unusual is the fact that students can repeat the experience for additional credit. Students (and others) are also welcome to participate on a noncredit basis, although attendance requirements remain the same whether one is trying to earn credit or not. Students hoping to major in music eventually on the Columbus campus will find that credits earned for Mus 2203.03 at Mansfield will count toward their requirements as music majors.
No entrance auditions are required although the director will help each singer to determine his or her appropriate voice classification during the first week of each semester. Music-reading experience is helpful but is not required.
The chorus meets in Riedl Hall’s Conard Performance Space twice a week—on Tuesdays and Thursdays—9:45 to 11:05 a.m. The Conard Performance Space was designed acoustically for unaccompanied singing and provides a magnificent rehearsal site.
The chorus sings a wide variety of music ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary pieces (both sacred and secular). The musical styles emphasized change somewhat at different times during the academic year. Autumn Semester finds the chorus working on a full holiday program of Christmas and Hanukkah music for early December. In Spring Semester the chorus often gives a presentation in late February as part of Black History Month. This year’s BHM program will be devoted to black spirituals. Both traditional spirituals and newer ones will be featured, including some which merge the older spiritual sound with the characteristics of more modern gospel music. This year’s program will be held in Riedl Hall on Thursday afternoon, February 25th, at 12:30 p.m.
A second program is typically held closer to the end of Spring Semester. It often features lighter pieces from the musical stage and contemporary secular (non-religious) pieces although in some years the chorus sings major works with either the Ashland or Mansfield Symphony Orchestras. The chorus has performed such works as Handel’s Messiah, Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, and Orff’s Carmina Burana.
Small Vocal Ensemble
During most semesters one or two smaller ensembles are formed from within the University Chorus. These groups might be single-sex or mixed in their make ups, and they perform on the same programs with the full chorus. Students can receive extra academic credit for participation in small ensembles by registering (with the director’s signed permission) for Music 2208.02. Practice time for small ensembles is more limited than for the University Chorus, so the ability to learn music quickly is imperative for ensemble singers.
Musical Theatre on Campus
Although University Chorus is separate from the campus’s musical theatre program, many chorus members opt to participate in the spring musical play production. Rehearsals are held during the first half of the semester, mostly in the evenings. Among the Broadway shows which have been performed are Guys and Dolls, How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Putnam County Spelling Bee, and Working. The 2016 show will be the classic Damn Yankees.
Class Voice Instruction
Beginning Class Voice (Music 1101.02) is taught at least one semester annually at Mansfield. Unlike University Chorus the emphasis is on learning about the mechanics of one’s own singing voice through solo literature (folksongs, art songs, religious songs, popular songs, and musical theatre songs). Class members do not perform publicly, but they do sing individually for each other during most class meetings.