Otterbein Summer Chorale Keeps the Music Alive on Campus During Break

Posted Jun 20, 2022

Each summer, the halls of the Battelle Fine Arts Center are filled with singing, even though many Otterbein students are home for summer break. It all comes from the Otterbein Summer Chorale (OSC).

“The choir provides a musical outlet for the community during a time in which churches and schools are not doing as much programming, so we’re able to bring music to a wider community,” says Gayle Walker, director of choral activities.

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All Otterbein students and employees are invited to join OSC, but it isn’t just campus community members who are part of the ensemble, says Walker. The singers include high school students, church choir singers, choir teachers, and Otterbein alumni. The singers come from all walks of life, and their musical abilities are varied. This year, OSC is comprised of 35 performers and three student conductors.

“Our oldest singer is 90, and our youngest is 17. Much like Otterbein’s values, inclusiveness and opportunity are key for OSC,” said Walker.

But like all things Otterbein, the chorale is a learning experience. The chorale is conducted by junior Otterbein music education students who are ready to start their conducting careers.

Students also handle the promotion and manage the annual free public concert performed by OSC to showcase the talents of the Otterbein student organizers and conductors, as well as the singers who have worked hard all summer.

This year, their concert will be held at 7 p.m. on July 17 at the Church of the Messiah, 51 N. State Street, in Westerville. Selections include a wide variety of pieces, from classical to spirituals, including Ticheli’s “Earth Song,” Lauridson’s “O nata lux,” Hogan’s “Walk Together Children,” Whitacre’s “Let the River Run,” Elder’s “Ballad to the Moon,” and Mozart’s “Jubilate Deo.”

“The choral music selected by the conductors includes music from other countries, cultures, and languages, and from different periods in history. To bring meaning to this music, the students have had to learn how to think beyond themselves and beyond Ohio. They are required to learn about the world and share that knowledge with the choir,” Walker said.

Walker said the chorale philosophy is that all can learn to sing, and sing well, in OSC. She quickly points out that it is more than just singing, but a togetherness that is sometimes missing in these divisive times.

”When a community helps each other learn music that makes the world a more beautiful place is amazing. It doesn’t get better than that!”