Brenau Vocal Chamber Ensemble featured at music conference

Feb. 23, 2022
Alyson Shields

The Brenau University Vocal Chamber Ensemble was one of just three featured choirs chosen to sing in the lobby of the Classic Center in Athens, Georgia, at the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference on Jan. 28.

Requiring an audition for acceptance, VCE is a select student ensemble with a repertoire that includes vocal chamber music from all historical periods. VCE is one of several groups within Brenau’s Music Department.

Ashley Conway, choral director and music education coordinator, said the group had to submit an audio audition to be considered by GMEA.

“It is very prestigious to be selected, and we are so proud that Brenau’s Vocal Chamber Ensemble was chosen,” Conway said. “This was one of the highlights of the year for the entire department.”

Conway was most excited to share VCE’s hard work and talent.

“When I turned around after we finished, I was so pleased to see so many colleagues, alumni and students there supporting our choir,” she said. “We had a wonderful time, and VCE not only sounded fantastic, but they also represented Brenau with maturity and grace. I am so proud of them.”

Brenau typically participates in the annual gathering, but it was junior Haley Rosales’ first time attending. She’s been a member of VCE for three years.

“The GMEA Conference brings thousands of music educators and students from all across the state together in one place, and being one of the very few choirs selected to sing was definitely a joyous experience,” Rosales said. “Vocal Chamber Ensemble did an excellent job, and I sincerely hope that we get the opportunity to perform at the event in the future.”

Rosales said she enjoyed meeting new people, the performances and the educational sessions. She was also eager to learn more about what it takes to be a music educator.

“There was so much I learned from the sessions and I cannot wait to use it in my future classroom,” she said. “I learned new warmups and some new songs, and I’m so excited to put them to good use.”

Conway said it was also an important experience because the event had been on a hiatus due to the pandemic.

“Brenau’s Music Department did our best to keep making music in the 2020-21 school year, but making music online is difficult, at best,” Conway said. “This entire year has been wonderful because we get to make music together once again. We have enjoyed having rehearsals and concerts and are excited to have more concerts, student recitals and the Opera Workshop this spring.”

The Opera Workshop performance at 7:30 p.m. on March 12 is one of several this spring for the music department. VCE will perform the Daggers and Tears concert on March 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Redwine Lobby of the Burd Center, and the Gospel Choir will host a concert in Hosch Theater on April 10 at 6 p.m.

Spectrum Singers, VCE and the Cherokee Bluff High School choirs will host a collaborative concert, And Nature Smiled, on April 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Downtown Center.

Founded in 1938, GMEA has some 3,000 members and is part of the National Association for Music Education. Its mission is to “promote the advancement of music education in Georgia,” according to the organization’s website.