**Teachers looking for information on Solo and Ensemble or Choir Contests can click here.
The Blinn College Choral Union is the heart of the college’s choir program. This group meets on Monday nights from 6:30-9:00pm and explores large masterworks such as Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, often with orchestral accompaniment. All scholarship students are required to be a part of this ensemble, which features guest soloists. The choir is not auditioned; any student may participate, as well as faculty or staff. This group is directed by Dr. Joel Plaag, and has been featured in a performance of Mozart’s Requiem in Carnegie Hall.
The Brenham Chorale - Founded in 1974 under the direction of Dick Damon, the Brenham Chorale, Brenham’s noted community chorus, enjoys a rich history of tradition and excellence, once again under the direction of Dr. Joel Plaag. Singers come from as far away as Giddings, Bellville, Bryan/College Station, and even Hearne to perform some of the great choral masterworks in Brenham. The Chorale rehearses on Monday nights, 6:30-9:00 pm in the Finke Recital Hall on the Brenham campus, and presents major works in a variety of performance locations around Brenham. The Brenham Chorale has performed to sold-out audiences in Brenham and has performed the Mozart Requiem at Carnegie Hall in New York City. This year’s performances include:
The Chorale is open to any area resident, regardless of vocal ability. Please contact Dr. Joel Plaag for more information. The first informational meeting is August 19, with the first rehearsal on August 26.
Camerata named after a late sixteenth century group of artists, poets, and musicians who regularly got together to discuss artistry in their hometown of Florence, is the leading chamber ensemble of Blinn College. This group travels to high schools and other venues regularly to bring good choral music to the Brazos Valley and beyond. Students in this group also have the opportunity to audition for the TTCCDA All-State Choir, which performs each winter in San Antonio at the annual TMEA Convention. Music Teachers/Choir directors interested in hosting Camerata at their school/church/event can contact Dr. Plaag. This year’s tour is scheduled for February 25-26, 2014.
Musical Theatre Ensemble (MTE) is a unique audition-only group dedicated to the study and performance of works from the musical theatre genre. Guest artists are frequently brought in to choreograph and workshop with members of MTE. Recent guest artists include: Chesley Krohn, Jonathan McVay, Barbara Irvine and Deborah Eckols. MTE performs both on and off campus several times throughout the academic year. Auditions for this group take place during the first week of school in the fall and spring semesters. It is directed by Elizabeth Byrd Shipsey.
Women’s Chorus – The women’s chorus, also a staple of the choir program, is dedicated to bringing good quality choral music around campus. Often, this group sings in unusual venues with a capella music and famous melodies. Frequently this group can be heard at Blinn’s Commencement exercises, held in May. Women’s Chorus is directed by Ms. Shipsey.
Audition Class - The vocal department is pleased to be able to offer a specialized voice/audition class catered to both the music and theatre student. This class prepares the actor/singer for auditions, necessary for transfer to a university program or to maintain a career in the realm of professional music and theatre. The class is part of the Music Theatre Ensemble and is directed by Ms. Shipsey.
Private Vocal Studies- Private lessons are available on two different levels. For those students wishing to major in vocal music, Blinn offers a one hour private lesson. Voice majors also attend a weekly studio class, held on Fridays from 10:00-11:50 AM. Non music- majors are eligible to take a half-hour lesson per week. Prerequisites for enrollment in a non-major voice lesson include: enrollment in a choral ensemble and permission of instructor. All music majors are tested at the beginning of their first semester for their aptitude in music theory and are assigned participation in the ensembles. Music majors can view the field of study for a list of required courses here.
Choir Club-Blinn College hosts an active choir club. This group presents does fundraisers and makes regular visits to area nursing homes as part of their community outreach. Anyone enrolled in the choral program is welcome to join the choir club.
SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE!!! Scholarships are awarded based on audition, the need for a particular voice part, and teacher recommendation. Scholarship auditions consist of:
Audition with a solo such as an aria, art song or piece from UIL Solo and Ensemble. Please bring a copy of the music with you if you need piano accompaniment.
Warm-up/Vocal exercises to determine the range, tessitura, and voice part.
Aural skills test to determine ability to match pitch.
Fill out the choral information form, found here.
A letter of intent, discussing what you can bring to the choral program, which can be brought to the audition or mailed as an attachment to email@example.com
A letter of recommendation from your high school/previous choral director (i.e. church choir/community chorus director, etc.) or a recommendation form, which can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to Dr. Joel Plaag, Choral and Vocal Studies, 902 College Ave, Brenham, TX 77833.
To request a brochure or to set up an audition, please contact Dr. Plaag at 979-830-4239 or email at: email@example.com.
Dr. Joel Plaag - Director of Choral and Vocal Studies
Cheryl Amelang- Accompanist- Music Theatre Ensemble and Studio Class
Dr. Linda Patterson - Accompanist for the Brenham Chorale/Choral Union
Vicki Wehmeyer – Voice Instructor
John Vavroch- Voice Instructor
For scholarship information and audition dates, contact:
Band: Mr. Harry Blake (979) 830-4652
Jazz Band: Dr. Craig Garrett (979) 830-4261
Chorus and Voice Study: Dr. Joel Plaag 979-830-4239
Piano Study: Mr. John Dujka (979) 830-4249
Drama: Mr. Bradley A. Nies (979) 830-4269