The Naturelles a cappella group smiles at an applauding crowd

The Naturelles a cappella group smiles at an applauding crowd after performing to close the MU School of Engineering’s knighting ceremony last year on Francis Quadrangle.

I’ve met several people who have given up music classes in college simply because it isn’t their major. They either think they can’t sign up or won’t have time for it.

Neither of those thoughts are true.

First, anyone can sign up for music classes. Anyone. It doesn’t matter if your major is journalism, engineering, or whatever — there is a place for you in music. Every choral and instrumental ensemble at MU has non-music majors in it. I know band and orchestra ensembles that also allow non-majors to join.

Second, when you come to college, it is important to prioritize your time and be honest with yourself about what you can handle. That does not mean you should give up something you love because you’re afraid it might be too hard or make you too busy.

Sticking with activities you loved in high school will make the transition into college much easier, because it’s something familiar.

“A lot of people have really good experience in high school or in church choirs, and coming here is an opportunity to keep developing that part of their experience,” said Paul Crabb, the conductor of University Singers who oversees all curricular choirs on campus.

Joining a music ensemble is a great way to make friends within different majors and age groups. It also gives you a break from your other classes during the day. An hour-and-a-half class three times a week sounds like a huge commitment, but it doesn’t feel like work. I’ve had so many days when choir is what keeps me going through the week.

I’m in University Singers, a mixed choir. Last semester we sang several modern pieces that were not only beautifully challenging works, but that also sparked discussion across the ensemble because of the content and messages addressing current social issues in the lyrics.

These groups are more than people throwing a few songs together for fun. They’re talented and intelligent people who take music and use it start a discussion.

“For me, it’s important for people to learn to work together to do something positive that creates something that we can only do with other people,” Crabb said.

Many ensembles have opportunities to get into the community to perform. There is a tour where students sing at high schools around Missouri, a performance at a nursing home, and each year there is a performance with Choral Union, an ensemble made up of students and community members.

If you have any interest at all, I highly recommend signing up for a music class. Even if you don’t have any experience, there is a place for you.

For information on how to sign up for an audition time, go to the MU School of Music website or email Paul Crabb at CrabbP@missouri.edu. Students of any age can join, at the beginning of any semester.

“Email me,” Crabb said. “Walk over (to the Fine Arts Building). Talk to me.”

  • I am a journalism student at the University of Missouri with an emphasis in magazine editing and a minor in anthropology.

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