The Civic Chorale is a choral ensemble on campus, open to all students, faculty and staff, alumni, and community members. It provides an opportunity to sing beside a diverse group of individuals without an audition.
“It’s a choir with a mission, it’s all about community talent development,” Director Mark Bloedow said.
The choir gives an opportunity to people with little or no musical experience to be engaged in a musical group. Whether a member has been singing from a young age or just started, the music always finds a way to challenge its members. The Civic Chorale has also been a blessing for members who no longer have choirs at their home congregations.
“I wanted to join because my church hasn’t had a choir for the last ten years and I missed the opportunity to sing,” community member Jan Elmendorf said.
Some students may view the choir as just an opportunity to gain that extra credit needed to graduate or keep them at full-time status. For student Julia Federwitz, the ensemble means much more.
“What keeps me coming back each year is the community aspect and the low stress of the group,” Federwitz said.
The choir meets only once a week on Mondays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. For students and community members, giving up their Monday nights is no burden. In fact, this weekly meeting allows for members to form connections with each other.
“We have parties after each concert where we can eat and talk, which is a great way to get to know the other community members,” Federwitz said.
The diversity of the community members also adds character to the ensemble. The choir consists of approximately 45 members this year. From one high school senior to numerous senior citizens, there’s always someone new to connect with.
Members of the ensemble also come from various locations. Although many members live close by, a few that travel quite a distance. Director Bloedow lives in Madison and stays in the area two days a week to conduct his university ensembles.
“Distance is no challenge when it’s something you love,” CUW alumnus and Milwaukee native Janet Kerner said.
Kerner attended Concordia at its original campus in downtown Milwaukee and began singing in the Civic Chorale at Mequon after learning about it in an Alumni newsletter. She feels that her family has grown because of the choir.
“There was one student I consider my fourth daughter. We email almost every day now and it’s like I could be a home away from home for her since she didn’t get a chance to go home often during the school year,” Kerner said.
CUW’s Civic Chorale will have its first performance Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. during the Sampler Concert at Concordia. For more information on the musical ensembles on campus, click here.
Written by Melissa Zimmer.