The Bowling Green State University choir Volaré, formerly the BGSU Women’s Chorus, goes on the road this week, as they get ready for their first performance in 22 years at the Ohio Music Educators Association conference in February.
Volaré will present the concert, “As Long as We Live: We are Love,” on their Northern Ohio pre-conference tour in preparation for their performance at the Ohio Music Educators Association conference in February.
BGSU’s only treble singer ensemble has only soprano and alto members.
The name of the choir is also new, with these performances as their first run with the new name, said Volaré Director Emily Pence Brown, Ph.D.
“It’s a bigger movement than just here at BGSU. It’s sort of across all gender and ensembles, whether it be a men’s chorus or a women’s chorus, to really realize that isn’t the identity of the ensemble. The identity of the ensemble is the voice part: soprano/alto, tenor/bass. It’s especially a national movement to go to some sort of a non-gendered name,” Brown said. “We sort of crowd-sourced (the name) and settled on Volaré, which means to soar and to fly. Being the Falcons, we thought that would be a good choice.”
This isn’t the group’s first name change. They began as the Treble Clef Club in 1917.
There is a photo of that first club, probably taken on a very warm day.
“It is the oldest vocal ensemble on campus,” Brown said. “It’s a bunch of angry young women in very sweaty clothing, in full garb. It’s funny.”
Brown said she thinks that the name may have changed names again, to the BGSU Women’s Chorus, in the mid-1980s.
In the process they also neutralized their concert attire. Members can now have a variety of options. Dresses are still an option, but they can now also choose pants or a tux.
Brown is a BGSU associate professor in choral music education. She is also a student teaching coordinator for future teachers of kindergarten to 12th grade students.
She said she knows the value of their upcoming performance at the Ohio Music Educators Association conference.
It’s the professional development conference, primarily for K-12 music teachers.
“The last time was 2001. Most of these singers weren’t born yet,” Brown said. “Only a handful of ensembles are selected to present throughout the conference. This is a big deal.”
Volaré has 60 undergraduate members who are both music and non-music majors, but many members will be going into education.
Brown said that this is an opportunity for the choir members to get comfortable with the pacing of a concert.
“There are a lot of transitions in the concert, putting music down, picking music up, body percussion things. The more we do it the more it will flow from piece to piece, so this is just a nice way to showcase within the community. We don’t do a lot of these, community performances in a regular year. So to get out and do it is a cool opportunity,” Brown said.
The concert will be a collection of pieces with new work, as well as early 19th century work.
Brown said that the ensemble is almost all undergraduate students in their first or second year.
“I’m just excited to perform with my friends. I’ll be honest, I just enjoy making music with such amazing musicians and choristers,” said Ashlyn Slocum, Volaré secretary and first-year student in music education.
All are invited to the free Volaré concerts.
There is one Saturday at First Presbyterian Church, 126 Church St., at 7 p.m.