“I just love it. I really do. Part of it is, I think, we're there to sing together and to sing well and to produce good music. But we're also there to have fun and to glorify God doing it,” junior Violet Hammack said. “And I think that mindset, whether consciously or unconsciously, really adds to that community.”
The community Hammack referred to is the Taylor University’s Women’s Chorus. This organization cultivates a community of women who sing together, build relationships together and grow together.
The group, formerly known as the Adoration Chorus, has been active off and on throughout the years at Taylor. It fell by the wayside shortly before the pandemic and was reestablished by Taylor alumnus and current Women’s Chorus Director Mark Statler in 2021.
The chorus meets for an hour twice a week to rehearse and spend time in fellowship with one another. During that time, in addition to learning the music for their various concerts and performances, they have built-in time devoted to getting to know each other and creating relationships with one another.
“I think a big thing is our director allows us time to talk within class sometimes about either the music composition that we're going over or just getting to know each other near the beginning of the semester. And we all want to be there for the same reason because it's not a required class or something,” sophomore Natalie Schneider said.
In addition, the members intentionally plan times to hang out outside of rehearsal. They frequently get dinner together after rehearsals and participate in movie nights.
Through rehearsals and group outings, the members also grow together, both in their musical abilities and in their personal relationships. Hammack and Schneider have both been involved with the group since its reestablishment in 2021. They both noted the group’s musical growth and the way they have grown together as people.
“As a group, I think music plays a huge part in that [growth],” Schneider said. “Just participating in singing and moving with the music is a great way to grow closer to people at a rapid speed. It's neat to go through those pieces together and figure out what they mean for us individually and then also what we bring to the stage as a group with that.”
In addition to musical and personal growth, the group has also grown numerically. The chorus started with 17 members in Fall 2021. Now, they have nearly doubled with 33 current members. All members bring their own individual gifts and talents to the table. They each have a unique responsibility within the chorus that they chose based on their strengths, a practice Statler learned from his own time in Taylor’s choir. These responsibilities include, but aren’t limited to, leading a section when learning a new piece of music or providing a devotional during rehearsal.
“I think that's been kind of cool to see how each of them did kind of self-select in what they want to do in those, what their unique gifts are and how that fits,” Statler said.
Each member uses their own personal gifts to help build the culture of the group while glorifying God in the process. Statler, Hammack and Schneider all consistently expressed gratitude at the ability to be a part of it and join the community.
“The biggest word I think of when I think of the Women's Chorus is just gratitude and how grateful I am to be a part of that and I see that in them,” Statler said.