The Echo spoke with Maxwell Trombley, 21, the President of the Eastern Michigan University Choir, because recently the choir has had some amazing performance opportunities. The choir has taken domestic and international tours to the UK every year and this year they’ve had many exciting and unique opportunities.
“This year really just kind of blew up with all the stuff we had going on,” Trombley said.
Their choir director, Dr. Brandon Johnson, applied for the EMU choir to perform at three conferences, a State level conference this past October, the Michigan Music Conference on January 25th in Grand Rapids, and the American Chorus Directors Association (ACDA) Regional conference in Chicago in February.
“[Dr. Johnson] never anticipated us to be accepted but we were accepted to all three! So that has just been very exciting,” Trombley said.
The choir also has had the opportunity to perform with Andrea Bocelli, an internationally renowned opera singer, on his American tour at Little Ceasar’s Arena. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra was hired to perform, with the EMU Choir as backup singers for Bocelli.
The EMU Choir, “the top performing and touring ensemble” as Trombley referred to it, performed this past October in Kalamazoo at the Michigan Music Conference. They are mostly made up of vocal majors but they do include some non-musical majors.
“We have some accounting folks in the choir, we have some business majors, some general art majors, communication, animation, all sorts of stuff,” Trombley said.
The choir rehearses three times a week, every other day, about six hours a week.
“One thing about choir is that we are a core class requirement for music majors and also an elective class for non-majors, but we also do so much around the university we thought it would be beneficial to become a student org,” Trombley said.
Last year they began a student organization. As an org they hosted a campus wide event, Sing for Justice, in November. The event was centered on music but more-so about The Arts and Social Justice issues. At the events like this they raise money to fund the choir in order to tour and perform. Trombley filled out a grant for the choir and was able to have Stacey Gibbs attend the event to speak.
“Stacey Gibbs is one of the world’s top arrangers of African American Gospel and Spiritual music, so it was really cool to welcome him to our campus. We also had speakers from the Center of Jewish Studies, as well as the Center of Gender Studies. We’ve had Mary Larkin from the LGBT Resource Center there to speak as well. All of these people from all these backgrounds spoke about different issues [at Sing for Justice]. It was a really successful day,” explained Trombley.
Back to their upcoming performances, Trombley was most enthused about the Regional conference in Chicago, held by the American Chorus Directors Association (ACDA).
Trombley explained, “The Chicago event coming up, on February 14th this year, is a really big deal for us. Out of all of the events we have been to, this is the most prestigious so far. Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, all these different states will be at this conference in Chicago It’s really good recognition for the work we’ve been doing and also very good recognition for Eastern, to show our school and music throughout the country."