By: Zenab Saeed ~Guest Writer~
Dr. Richard Schnipke has taken over as the director for Xavier’s concert choir. Dr. Schnipke, who was initially hired as the director of music education, is in his second year at Xavier and is now the Director of Choral Activities. In addition to directing Concert Choir, Schnipke directs both the men’s and women’s choruses.
Xavier’s concert choir is a chorus group comprised of 40 to 55 students or, “as many students who can fit on a bus for touring,” Dr. Tom Merrill, the Head of the Department of Music and Theatre, said.
The audition process includes an evaluation of sight-reading skills, a range check and ear tests.
The class, which meets three times a week, has two major performances a semester, including the March performance with the Cincinnati Ballet at the Aronoff Center, during which they will sing Mozart’s Requiem.
Prior to Schnipke’s involvement, Dr. Matthew Phelps, who worked to complete his doctorate at University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music during his time on Xavier’s faculty, directed the choir.
As Phelp’s departure approached, Schnipke seemed like the appropriate fit for the job. Schnipke was heavily involved in the music department at Ohio State University and as a vocal music educator in Ohio public schools before coming to Xavier.
“Dr. Schnipke’s experience was a key factor when he was chosen for the position, and I feel that he can take Concert Choir to the next level,” Merrill said.
Merrill looks forward to seeing how Schnipke will contribute to the future of the choir and hopes that the group will participate in more tours and choral competitions under his guidance.
“Honestly, I am very confident that this year is going to be the best concert choir (Xavier) has had in a while. On our choir retreat this past Friday, you could feel the energy in the room. There are some people everyone wants to perform well for, simply because that person draws a better version of yourself out of you. Dr. Schnipke is most definitely one of those people,” junior and choir member Elizabeth Rancourt said.
The Xavier Department of Music and Theatre is looking forward to Dr. Schnipke’s leadership and to the Concert Choir’s first major performance of this semester, which will follow the theme “The Life of Singer” in late October.