Every fall, Winona State University’s Concert Choir ventures off to Living Waters Camp in Westby, Wis. to learn music and create the feeling of togetherness in the group.
This yearly occurrence tends to be the highlight of the year for choir students. Not only do they get to spend a weekend off campus, but it is a weekend filled with music, learning, outdoor activities and minimal social media.
Winona State’s American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) president Brooke May has attended choir camp for three years, been a part of ACDA for the past four years and helped make choir camp possible this year. ACDA plans out all of the games, activities, sectionals, food concerns for singers, break out sections and general scheduling. According to May, it takes about a month to plan for the adventure with their director, Harry Mechell.
May commented on how the atmosphere of the choir changes over the course of the weekend.
“It’s about coming together as a group, getting to know each other and finding vulnerability. Vulnerability is what helps the choir move from being a choir that sounds good to a choir that is able to emotionally affect other people,” May said.
This is a crucial event for the choir, because it was not only a time to learn music for the semester, but it created new friendships and connections within the choir to form a true team.
First-year Angela Gifford said she expected a difficult weekend with a lot of singing and time spent in raccoon-infested cabins. However, her views after the weekend changed.
“It’s awesome. [Choir] feels friendlier now and I feel closer with the people around me,” Gifford said.
Gifford said the choir became more focused, and it helped hone in on their abilities to listen to each other.
The choir students will showcase their work in the upcoming season. The fall concert will be on Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center.