Singing For Life

Men's Chorus member, Jace Spraker, and Chorus Director Dr. Ryan Olsen

Men's Chorus member, Jace Spraker, and Chorus Director Dr. Ryan Olsen

CSU Student Sings For Life

When asked for a quote about the benefits of participating in music during college, even as a non-music major, Jace Spraker, Food Science Human Nutrition major and member of the CSU Men’s Chorus under the direction of Ryan Olsen, spoke so openly and passionately about his experience that we wanted to share his entire statement.

In Jace's Spraker's Own Words

Despite being a non-music major, I have been singing in choirs and other various music projects almost my entire life, and if not for these non-auditioned choirs, I would likely be forced to sacrifice this art to the ever demanding schedule that seems to be inherited with growing older. The main reason for this is that the auditioned choirs are consistently scheduled during the early afternoon time slot to accommodate for the music majors, which is almost always commanded by labs and such for non-music majors (at least in my experience).

Also, it is worth mentioning that I had a major surgery last year over winter holiday that demanded my abdominal muscles being severed, resulting in all but losing the level of control over my diaphragm/breathing needed for singing. Because of this, I had all but lost my ability to sing literally overnight, and thus had thought that I may never be able to express myself through singing again. On the occasion that I would try to sing, what vocalized was something akin to a Lovecraftian creature’s gargling!

A Supportive Community

Four CSU choirs, including the Men's Chorus, participate in the annual Holiday Spectacular concert.

Four CSU choirs, including the Men's Chorus, participate in the annual Holiday Spectacular concert.

Fortunately for my sanity, the CSU Men’s Chorus community didn’t care that I had become worse. In fact, because of the patience, support and the teaching of various exercises by Dr. Ryan Olsen and Bryan Kettlewell (along with the support of the group), I was able to slowly redevelop the atrophied muscles and have almost reattained the level of singing that I once had. Everyone in class knows each others’ name, the professor and co-directer genuinely care about all of the choir members, and we all teach each other how to be better at what we are trying to achieve (not to mention that these programs provide graduate students a real choir to work/practice with so they are better prepared for the “real world”). I have yet to come across anything like it in any of my other classes/programs at CSU.

An Equal Appreciation of Science and Art

Anyway, I suppose that my point is that if not for these non-auditioned choirs, it would be almost prohibitively difficult for a non-music major like myself to participate in any kind of music group, whether the student be the next Pavarotti or someone who has never even hummed along to the radio. By providing these programs, CSU is making music and other various arts more accessible to everyone, not just the people who are called to dedicate their lives to the practice, and I pray that CSU sees the wisdom in continuing to fund something that has been such a blessing in my, and many other non-music majors’ lives.

After all, if we want to truly understand the chaotic and complicated world that we are allowed to live in, science AND art must both be equally appreciated, applied, and respected.

Join CSU’s Non-Auditioned Music Ensembles!

At CSU, there are four ensembles open to all majors and an audition is not required to be a member. Simply register and show up!

Scholarships are available for men joining choir! Email Dr. Ryan Olsen or Dr. James Kim for more information.

The School of Music, Theatre and Dance's top band, orchestra, and choral ensembles are open to all students, regardless of major. Auditions for most ensembles are held at the beginning of each semester. CSU Marching Band auditions are held in June each year. Click here for details about auditioned ensembles.

If you don’t have an instrument with you on campus, don’t worry! Many instruments are available for rental.

Classes are held at the University Center for the Arts, 1400 Remington St.