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Choral Music

The choral music program performs a broad range of musical styles to engage singers of all levels. Our singers regularly perform choral masterworks with orchestra, an experience that few other liberal arts universities can offer.
The Colgate University Chorus performs the great choral-orchestral masterworks. Julia Segal ’20 and Patrick Toohey ’20 organizing their music before the University Chorus’s May 2017 performance at La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Carmen in Guatapé, a village near Medellín. (Photo credit: Pilar Mejía) The Colgate University Chorus and Chamber Singers performing as the featured choir in the May 2017 Festival of University Arts in the Teatro Heredia at the University of Cartagena. The Chamber Singers performing at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, as part of the 2015 Central Europe Concert Tour. (Photo credit: Dylan Crouse ’15) Members of the Colgate University Chorus and Chamber Singers in Prague, Czech Republic, on the first day of the 2015 Central Europe concert tour. (Photo credit: Dylan Crouse ’15) Members of the Colgate University Chorus and Chamber Singers perform annually at the Lessons and Carols service. (Photo credit: Zoe Zhong '17) The Chamber Singers waiting to perform the American and Canadian national anthems before a Colgate Men's Ice Hockey game. The Chamber Singers after a masterclass with the world-renowned vocal chamber ensemble New York Polyphony.

University Chorus and Chamber Singers

About the University Chorus

Conducted by Dr. Ryan Endris, the University Chorus is a large, mixed-voice ensemble that performs a broad range of traditional choral literature, often with an accompanying orchestra comprised of professional instrumentalists from the faculty and regional orchestras. Singing in the University Chorus is a wonderful way to meet new people, to represent your university, and to perform some of the greatest works of all time! The University Chorus performs one major concert each semester.

About the Chamber Singers

The Chamber Singers is a select student choral ensemble that specializes in the performance of a cappella choral music at the highest level. The Chamber Singers, which numbers between 12 and 24 singers, are all members of the University Chorus. This chamber choir also performs a broad range of musical repertoire, from music of the Renaissance, to African-American spirituals, to music composed in the 21st century. In addition to performing in concert with the University Chorus, the Chamber Singers perform in concert on their own, including at the annual Lessons & Carols service each December and at university athletic events. The Chamber Singers have collaborated with Grammy-nominated ensembles such as NY Polyphony and The Crossing and have also performed as an opening act for celebrities and dignitaries, including Aretha Franklin and former Vice President Joe Biden.

European Concert Tour

Finland Estonia tour posterEstonia, Finland, and Russia: May 20 – June 1, 2019
In May of 2019, the University Chorus and Chamber Singers will embark on a two-week tour of Estonia, Finland, and Russia, with an emphasis on performing The music of those countries. This extended study offers students the opportunity to gain deeper understanding of the historical and cultural context of the music of the Baltic countries and Russia. Students become deeply and intimately engaged in the repertoire by performing it numerous times and continually refining their work for varied performance venues. Additionally, students will participate in collaborations with local choirs and excursions to historical/cultural sites to further connect the music being performed to the region.

This concert tour is an extended study for which students can earn .25 academic credit (MUSI-238) with financial aid available to those who are eligible. For more information about concert tour and how to apply for the extended study, please visit the Chorus Extended Study Information page. Interested students should email Prof. Endris by August 28, 2018 to schedule their audition.

Fall 2018 Choral Performances

Colgate University Chorus & Guest Orchestra

Voices of Light/The Passion of Joan of Arc
Richard Einhorn, Composer
R. Ryan Endris, Conductor

Friday, December 7 – 7:30pm – Colgate Memorial Chapel

Voices of Light merges Carl Theodor Dreyer’s legendary silent film masterpiece The Passion of Joan of Arc with a live performance of a beautiful new work by composer Richard Einhorn. An incredibly moving and popular composition for solo voices, chorus and orchestra, Voices of Light has been hailed as “a triumph” (Los Angeles Times) and “an overwhelming experience” (Chicago Tribune). This performance is presented in conjunction with Film and Media Studies and with support from the Colgate Arts Council and Faculty Development Council.

Lessons & Carols: Colgate University Chamber Singers

Friday, December 14 – 7:00pm – Colgate Memorial Chapel

The Chamber Singers will lead the congregation in the singing of Advent and Christmas carols, as well present a cappella choral works to complement the lessons. The Lessons & Carols service is presented by the Office of the Chaplains, Department of Music, University Church, Colgate Christian Fellowship, and Newman Community.

Joining the University Chorus

Auditions for Fall 2018

Wednesday, August 29:
1:00pm – 5:00pm

Thursday, August 30:
10:00am – 5:00pm

Friday, August 30:
10:00am – 1:00pm

By appointment: E-mail Dr. Endris
Auditions for the University Chorus are open to all student, faculty, staff, and community members who have an interest in singing in a large, mixed-voice choir that performs a broad range of music. Singers of all levels and experiences are welcome in the University Chorus; however, some singers might benefit from private voice lessons before joining the University Chorus.

A simple, brief audition is required to participate in the University Chorus for purposes of vocal placement in the ensemble and for the director to get to know each singer vocally. No prepared material is necessary for the audition, which takes place privately in Dana M02 (office between 1st and 2nd floors). For the audition, each singer will sing through simple vocal exercises and sight-sing a brief musical excerpt. Those students interested in being considered for the Chamber Singers should indicate this on their audition forms; no separate audition is held for this choir.

To schedule an audition time or for more information, please contact Dr. Endris, director of choral and vocal activities, at

Frequently Asked Questions

Click below for more details:

Who can join the choral ensembles?
The University Chorus is open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members after passing a brief, simple audition. It is a community for those who love music and wish to participate in a choral ensemble. Members of the community must be at least 18 years of age and post-high school. Participation in the Chamber Singers is limited to current Colgate students who have demonstrated both musical ability and dedication to the choral art.
When do the choral ensembles rehearse?
The University Chorus rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel. The Chamber Singers rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:45 – 8:00 p.m. Additionally, one or two dress rehearsals are scheduled prior to each concert.
What if I have a scheduling conflict with the rehearsal times?
Regular attendance at rehearsal in all choral ensembles is expected (see above for rehearsal times); however, we know that students at Colgate are engaged in a variety of activities, and so there is some flexibility in working around occasional conflicts with rehearsals.
Can I receive academic credit (and a grade) for singing in the University Chorus?
Yes, students who participate in the University Chorus for two consecutive semesters can earn one full credit and a grade, and this credit may be earned a maximum of two times. Students register for the credit in their second semester of participation, and students’ grades are based on attendance, professionalism, and musicianship in rehearsal and performance in both semesters.
I’m involved in another singing or music group on campus. Can I still participate in the university choral ensembles?
Absolutely! In fact, we encourage our students to be involved a variety of music ensembles to have a well-rounded college music experience. Members of other singing groups and ensembles are most welcome in the choral ensembles, and there is some flexibility for accommodating scheduling conflicts.