UW-Madison Choral Ensembles

UW-Madison has a long and distinguished tradition of choral music. Our choral department is led by our outstanding faculty:

Dr. Mariana Farah, Incoming Director of Choral Activities
Dr. Bruce Gladstone, Associate Director of Choral Studies

It is our mission to offer everyone an inspiring musical experience in a variety of ways. Our choirs provide the opportunity to prepare diverse literature, enhancing individuals’ ability in singing, listening, and the application of related music skills. All UW-Madison choirs focus on our ability to make great music together, establish meaningful relationships, build community, and advance our treatment of other human beings. Join us! You’ll be glad you did!

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

We invite you to become part of the great choral tradition at UW-Madison. Our choral program provides opportunities for students of all levels of ability to study and perform outstanding choral music from all historical periods and from a variety of cultures. Our program boasts several ensembles that differ by size, skill level, and repertoire. The choirs are comprised of undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines across campus, and from community members.

If you are passionate about singing, UW-Madison has a choir for you. Ensembles are open by audition to all students at the University, regardless of major. Choral Union is also open to community members and does not require an audition. Whether you are an accomplished singer or someone seeking to develop and refine your vocal abilities, you will find a place in one of our choirs. UW-Madison choirs perform various concerts throughout the school year, and then combine with the Symphony Orchestra for performance of major choral orchestral works at the beautiful Hamel Music Center in downtown Madison.

The program holds auditions at the beginning of each semester. We encourage everyone to sign up for audition and have an exciting, challenging, and inspirational experience. For more information about our choirs, contact our Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Mariana Farah at mariana.farah@wisc.edu.

Spring 2021 update

COVID-19 created a host of challenges that continue to make it uniquely difficult to provide the high-quality choral experiences we want for our majors and non-majors.

Due to the nature of the virus and the insurmountable challenges of singing together safely, and on the recommendation of our incoming Director of Choral Activities, Mariana Farah, we made the very difficult decision to cancel all choral ensembles for the Spring 2021 semester.

This includes Concert Choir, Chorale, Madrigal Singers, and Women’s Chorus. With the cancellation, we also waived 1 credit of large ensemble for all voice, music education (choral track) and guitar majors who would otherwise have been required to enroll in a large ensemble this Spring.

Concert Choir

Dr. Mariana Farah, conductor

Rehearsal Schedule: Monday 3:30–5:00 PM; Tuesday and Thursday 2:30–4:00 PM

Course Number: Undergraduate 660-50; Graduate 660-578. 1 credit.

Prerequisites: Placement audition.

Description: Concert Choir is the premier choral ensemble in the Mead Witter School of Music. This advanced-level flagship group performs works that span the entire breadth of the choral literary tradition and requires an advanced level of musicianship and ensemble skills from its members. Members of this ensemble will join the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra for performance of major choral orchestral works at the beautiful Hamel Music Center.

Women’s Chorus

Dr. Mariana Farah, conductor

Rehearsal Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:20–2:10 PM

Course Number: 660-52. 1 credit.

Prerequisites: Placement audition.

Description: Women’s Chorus is the premier treble choral ensemble in the Mead Witter School of Music. The Women’s Chorus is a select ensemble of undergraduate singers who specialize in the performance of a wide variety of music for treble voices. Under the direction of Dr. Farah, the ensemble will rehearse and perform a wealth of literature for soprano and alto voices. Members of this ensemble may also join the UW-Madison Symphony Orchestra for performance of major choral orchestral works at the beautiful Hamel Music Center.

Madrigal Singers

Dr. Bruce Gladstone, conductor

Rehearsal Schedule: Tuesday and Thursday 6:30–8:30 PM

Course Number: Undergraduate 660-58; Graduate 660-558. 1 credit.

Prerequisites: UW–Madison student. Placement audition.

Description: This advanced-level group sings repertoire for small chamber choruses from the Renaissance to the present. Madrigal Singers has very limited openings each semester and demands a high level of sight reading and independence.

Chorale

Dr. Bruce Gladstone, conductor

Rehearsal Schedule: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 12:00–1:00 PM

Course Number: Undergraduate 660-56; Graduate 660-577. 1 credit.

Prerequisites: UW–Madison student. Placement audition.

Description: Chorale is a select mixed ensemble comprised of students from a variety of majors across campus. This ensemble performs varied concert literature and focuses on the development of skills in concert performance and music literacy.

Choral Union

Dr. Mariana Farah, conductor

Rehearsal Schedule: Monday 7:30–9:30 PM

Course Number: Undergraduate 660-53; Graduate 660-559. 1 credit.

Prerequisite: open to students and community members. No audition required.

Description: Choral Union is the largest mixed choral ensemble in the Mead Witter School of Music.

On November 28, 1893, the Choral Union (formerly the University Choral Club) held its first rehearsal under Prof. Parker with a membership including community residents and university students. Choral Union has a distinguished history of performing under the leadership of some of the most respected choral conductors and we are proud of this tradition. This organization is open to singers both in and outside the university community for performance of major choral orchestral works in the Fall and Spring. Come and join us!

Click here for audition information.

Contact:
performingorgs@music.wisc.edu
(608) 263-1770

GRADUATE STUDIES

UW-Madison’s graduate choral conducting program is one of America’s most comprehensive programs. Led by Dr. Mariana Farah, director of choral activities, and Dr. Bruce Gladstone, associate director of choral activities, the program combines intense academic and practical studies with extensive podium time. Our choral conducting students are afforded daily experience in training choirs with one of the university choirs. Select graduate students are given the responsibility to teach their own ensemble as part of their Graduate Assistantship. These GTAs are carefully mentored so that there is immediate feedback with regards to their progress. Our program of studies is crafted to help prepare the UW Madison graduates to become leaders in the musical world.

The Graduate Choral Conducting program at UW-Madison gives preference to applicants with teaching experience, keyboard skills, excellent communication skills, and a deep desire to learn and excel in the field of conducting.

Application Process

Click here to begin the application process.

Graduate students

Kristie Halverson

Kristie Halverson

Kristie Halverson, conductor, is a DMA student in choral conducting with a doctoral minor in music education. She has been a teaching assistant in music education and is currently a teaching assistant in choral conducting, leading the Women’s Chorus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Kristie taught choral music and private classical vocal and piano lessons in schools in Seattle, Washington.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson is in his third year of doctoral studies in Choral Conducting. Originally from Minnesota, Michael received his Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from Luther College in Decorah, IA, taught several years in the Farmington Public School District, and earned his Master’s degree at the University of Denver, Lamont School of Music.

Kyle Sackett

Kyle Sackett

Kyle Sackett, baritone, is a DMA student in voice performance with a doctoral minor in choral conducting. Before coming to Madison, Kyle worked extensively both teaching and performing in Chicago. He holds the M.M. in voice and opera performance from Northwestern University and the B.M. in music education from SUNY Fredonia.

Andrew Voth

Andrew Voth

Andrew Voth is currently pursuing his DMA in Choral Conducting with a minor in Music Education at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He also serves as a teaching assistant to the Music Education department, overseeing practicum students and choral student teachers. Originally from Kansas, Voth earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Bethel College.

Alumni updates

See how UW-Madison choral conducting alumni are using creative ways to advance choral music during this challenging time for choral communities around the world.

1) Mike Pfitzer (graduated in 2011 MM in choral conducting)- Director of Choral Studies at SUNY Albany- Leading Drive-In Rehearsals in the time of Covid-19: A Choir Finds a Way to Sing (New York Times)

2) Kimberly Dunn Adams (DMA in choral conducting, graduated in 2011)- Director of Choral Activities at Western Michigan University- sought new ways to approach choral music at WMU this fall: “We’re talking about how we can use choral music to amplify the good work that other organizations do for our community. We’re researching non-profit/charitable organizations and finding connections with our repertoire, where they exist.”

Bravo Mike and Kimberly for finding creative ways to carry on our tradition of choral excellence! Go Badgers!