Voices of excellence


Dr. John Perkins, conductor of Butler University Choir and Women’s Chorus, has an obvious passion for music.

He said he wants his singers to interpret the music beyond notes and rhythms, to allow the philosophy behind the music to dictate the process of expressing the music.

Singing in the choir is not only about the mechanics of singing, he said, but also about the growth of each individual as everyone experiences the music together.

University Choir is a large ensemble composed of students of many different majors and interests, from pharmacy majors to business majors to music majors.

Perkins commends University Choir singers for their “ability to represent the entire university with musical excellence and personal enthusiasm.”

The Women’s Chorus is also composed of students of several majors, although it is mostly made up of music majors. It is also a smaller ensemble than university choir.

“The Women’s Chorus has developed a unique tone quality and color for each one of the pieces we are performing,” he says.

Perkins said he is proud of both of his ensembles and the progress they have made so far this year, both musically and intellectually.

“My greatest teaching achievement would be if I could make self-learners out of each member of the ensembles,” he said. His goal is for students to ask questions and be actively involved in the interpretation process.

Freshman music education major Brianna Tyler said she enjoys being a member of Women’s Chorus.

She said she appreciates that Perkins gives the singers a say in what they sing. Once he chooses music for them to perform, Perkins asks the choir members how they feel about the songs.

“He doesn’t mind asking us what we want to do,” Tyler said. “He cares about what we are learning and where we are going with our musical careers.”

For Perkins, performing is “not just about the concert,” Tyler said.

“Women’s Chorus is a serious choir,” she said. “We all have a love of music, it is a part of all of our lives, and we can all still come together and have fun.”

Perkins is excited to conduct the University Choir and Women’s Chorus Concert on March 5. He says the singers will perform a variety of beautiful pieces.

The concert will include selections from the “Carmina Burana,” a collection of medieval Latin poems set to music by the composer Carl Orff.

The ensembles will combine to perform these pieces.

Freshman vocal performance major Alana Jones said she is excited to perform in the upcoming concert with University Choir.

“The music we are performing from the ‘Carmina’ is really cool and fun to sing,” she said. “It is so intense and will be really intriguing for the audience.”

Junior pharmacy major Rachel Opperman, who has been singing with University Choir for the past three years, is also looking forward to performing this concert.

“This is some of my favorite music that we have done, and I have gotten to experience a lot of different music with this choir,” she said.

Mackenzie Hrubey, also a junior pharmacy major, shares that excitement.

“Though this is my first year with the choir, I love that we have so much diversity this semester with the music,” she said.

The concert will take place March 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts, and it is free with a Butler ID.