Staples A Cappella Hosts University of Wisconsin Choir

On Wednesday, March 16, the University of Wisconsin – Madison Concert Choir held a concert at Staples as part of its Spring Break Tour, which included seven stops in five states.

The group, which is comprised of 50 students from the Wisconsin School of Music, “sang a wide variety of music from various musical periods, including lots of various styles of choral music,” according to Staples Choir Director Justin Miller.

The Staples A Cappella Choir hosted to the Concert Choir both during the performance and afterwards.

As the hosts of the event, the 63 Staples students that comprise the A Cappella Choir opened the concert with various types of pieces before letting the Choir from the University of Wisconsin take the stage. Although the two groups thought it would be nice to perform together, “there just wasn’t enough time to work it out,” Miller said.

After the concert was over, instead of proceeding to a hotel or tour bus, the Wisconsin students went home with some of their high school counterparts.

This practice is not unusual in the choir world, Miller said. Host choirs will offer rooms and meals to their choir peers in order to keep touring costs as low as possible because many choirs have tight budgets.  Housing other groups also fosters a sense of community among the choirs.

“How better to get to know people or learn something about where they are from than having them stay with you, or staying with them?  The University of Wisconsin Choir asked if we could provide housing, and fortunately we were able to accommodate all of them,” Miller said.

18 Stapleites invited the Wisconsin students into their homes.  Some only took one or two; some took as many as six.

Courtney Dionne ’11 hosted three members of the Concert Choir, including a male junior, an older man who studies at the school, and the choir’s director.

“I was really surprised; I was expecting to be hosting students more around my age, but I really enjoyed having them, “ Dionne said. “They all understand music theory at such a high level so my family and I were able to have some really cool conversations with them.”

The Dionne family was also treated to a private concert.

“We have a piano, and one of the guys staying with us was a piano major, along with French and voice, and he just sat and played for five hours. He was incredible,” Dionne said.

The joint concert was initiated by Anna Slate, an alumnus of both Staples and the University of Wisconsin. She reached out to Miller who thought it was a great idea. “Once the connection was made, it was only a matter of figuring out logistics,” Miller said.

The concert was well attended, mainly by local alumni from the University. “It was a great event and I hope more great groups like this visit Staples in the near future,” Miller concluded.