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Briar Cliff's Newest Musical Addition

October 2, 2019 | by Ben Pigg

Briar Cliff University has seen a new improvement in the musical department with the addition of a show ensemble.

Jamie Kelley is the Show Choirs new director. Kelley graduated from Wartburg College where he obtained his Bachelor of Music Education degree with a theatre minor. After being an adjunct professor in music, Jamie took the job at Briar Cliff as Director of Choral Activities.

“We received a grant to help start this new show ensemble,” said Kelley. That new show ensemble is planned to start in the spring while Kelley’s chamber choir is diving into jazzier and poppier arrangements of songs. “Just so we can put that out there and people can see what this group may look like,”said Kelley. That way students would seem familiar to show ensemble.

Kelley doesn’t know how big the group will be and hopes by spring that it’ll double. “I’ve been on the road recruiting, so it almost could be until next fall that the numbers get going.” The students being recruited may receive a scholarship from Kelley for the show choirs acapella type deal which may feature piano, drums, guitar, or even singing.

When it comes to recruiting Kelley’s has his process figured out. “I email districts throughout the state and I’ve offered my services to work with choirs, all state singers, and vocal ensembles throughout the years, then we’ll get the list of all 600 kids who were all state and I’ll contact them.”

Choirs may seem as if they’re filled up with mostly women but when it comes to Kelley, he strives to keep that number as balanced as possible. “We always want that gender number to be balanced. When it comes to our Cliff Singers ,which is all vocal, it's pretty balanced, we might actually be more men than women by one or two,” said Kelley.

Kelley isn’t the only person excited for the new ensemble. Katherine Logan is a junior from Sioux City, IA, who is double majoring in marketing and vocal performance and looks forward to the ensemble. “I’m very excited for this addition because it allows for a greater variety of music in our vocal repertoire. With this new group, we will be singing music that ranges from classical to pop,” said Logan.

The show choir plans to get more students involved with choral activities, welcoming them with a variety of music and more scholarships.

The choir room where the new vocal ensemble will take place.

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