by Gabriele Eubanks
The Rochester University Choral Ensemble has been through many changes over the years. First formed in fall 2016, it was called the Rochester College Alumni chorus and was meant for school alumni who lived in the area, but when the university's student chorus disbanded due to lack of participation, Dr. Joe Bentley, director, combined the remnants of both to form the Choral Ensemble.
The chorus is beginning its fifth season and is going through more changes along with the many it has gone through previously. This year is going to be different from previous years due to COVID-19. Bentley has made the decision to complete the season virtually and said “we believe it is unwise for us to meet face-to-face."
Practices were on the first, third and fifth Sundays of every month from 2 to 3 p.m. but will be done through Zoom meetings instead of in person. Because of the virtual setting, the chorus plans on using photography to amplify the meaning of songs. Bentley hopes that the changes this year will be positive in some aspects as it increases flexibility. He also has time set aside for one-to-one practices for those who need assistance.
He says, “We exist to provide a community for each other and to serve the surrounding area” and plans to incorporate songs in favor of social justice. The chorus has been a place of community for singers for many years and is always welcoming new people to join.
Check out the choral union website for more information.