In an effort to provide a vocal music opportunity for male students without a choir elective course in their schedule, vocal music instructor Mark Roberts and some of his choir students have founded the “Man Choir,” a lunchtime club.
“There are two strictly all female choirs now and no strictly all male choir,” said Roberts. “So [Man Choir] is meant to include the guys a little more, make them feel like they have something too.”
Senior Tim Lovelace, a member of Man Choir, added that three years ago, there were five choirs: Men’s Chorale, Women’s Chorale, Chamber Singers, Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble, and Concert Choir. “Today, the choir system works as a co-ed chorale for both girls and guys, then there’s Women’s Ensemble, Bel Canto, Concert Choir, and Chamber Singers. So there’s no guys’ choir that is being currently taught as an elective,” he said.
According to junior member Sam Pride, the group is open to “any male person on campus: faculty, student, any grade, any skill level whatsoever.”
“Mr. Roberts had the original idea, and then a couple students, including me and a couple other guys, we talked about it, and we even had the faculty joining in,” said Pride.
“There was a little bit of student driven desire to have something like this, and I decided to codify it and make it into something. I’m technically in charge but I’m trying to make it somewhat democratic. . . I’m really trying to respond to what students or people who participate want to do,” Roberts said.
Lovelace added that, in Man Choir, “you get to learn music, you get to learn proper vocal exercise habits such as scales, arpeggios, basically everything. All the guys get on very well, and it’s a very fun class to be in basically.”
Despite teaching five choir classes each day, Roberts still devotes his time to Man Choir every Thursday during lunch. “Out of all the classes, one of the things that [Roberts] does miss working on is with a men’s choir… He kind of really misses the feeling of working with a bunch of guys who love to sing,” said Lovelace.
Roberts isn’t entirely sure how the Man Choir will develop. “I really want it to be something that serves the participants. I don’t want to inject my biases into that, so I can’t really say where it’s going… For now, it’s just sort of for fun,” he said. “Where would I like it to go? I’d like it to grow. I’d like them to perform sort of informally from time to time. Perhaps the group will grow over years to maybe include maybe more folks from beyond Campo, but for now it’s just trying to respond to what the students want.”
Lovelace said Roberts announced that the choir may make their performance debut at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek for Spring Arts on May 20th.
“I really hope that we could… keep this as a tradition going on in Campolindo. It’d be cool if everybody – all the guys at Campo – did that one day,” added Pride. “It’s just like a place where you can forget about your day to day stresses and just focus on this piece of music for fifteen minutes or less. We [Man Choir] all encourage everybody who wants to anyways join up. Just show up on time, on Thursdays.”