Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, Ohio
Bio: The Bowling Green State University Men’s Chorus is open to all tenor & bass students, faculty, and staff. The ensemble encompasses students from across many majors, representing all seven colleges at the University, with over half being non-music majors. The chorus functions both as a student organization and as a course offered through the College of Musical Arts, promoting an atmosphere of camaraderie and exemplary musicianship. During the group’s 50 years of existence, the BGSU Men’s Chorus has toured annually, produced numerous recordings, and performed at state, regional, and national conferences and seminars of ACDA, NAfME, and IMC.
Ensemble Statement: Bowling Green State University is located in rural Wood County, OH with a student population of approximately 18,000. The Men’s Chorus was founded in 1971, after over a decade absence of a tenor/bass chorus on campus. Currently, one of five curricular choirs housed in the BGSU College of Musical Arts, the chorus is open to all tenor and bass students, faculty, and staff by simple audition, and encompasses students from across many majors, representing all seven colleges at the university, with over half being non-music majors. Since Dr. Richard Schnipke’s appointment as conductor in 2017, he and the student leadership have worked together to build a more inclusive, welcoming experience for both chorus and audience members. A conscious effort has been made to program repertoire that reflects the membership, expands student perspectives, and builds community. Careful attention has been given to programming gender inclusive texts and music from diverse cultures and composers (including women, BIPOC, LGBTQ, and other historically marginalized voices). Themes of social justice and community often resonate in the ensemble’s concert programs. Additionally, previous non-inclusive repertoire and social traditions have been discontinued to make way for customs that fit the values of current students. While chorus membership is fairly representative of university demographics, BIPOC and LGBTQ students regularly serve as members of the officer board, section leaders, graduate assistants, and soloists. After 50 years as the BGSU Men’s Chorus, the leadership realizes that in order to be a truly inclusive ensemble, a name-change is necessary. Preliminary conversations pertaining to this topic are underway with the current student officers and college administration. Next steps in the process involve including alumni and upper-level university leadership in selecting a name that honors the legacy of the ensemble but is reflective of current and future tenor & bass singers at BGSU.