40 choir students turned away, program keeps growing

After 40 students showed up to audition during her first year with the St. Thomas choir in 1999, Angela Broeker, director of choral activities, said she only had one priority on her mind: to give college students the opportunity to sing.

Broeker said she never expected the choir program to be where it is today.

As director of both Concert Choir and Chamber Singers, Broeker expanded the program significantly over the past 13 years. Growing in numbers and interest, 40 of the 172 students who auditioned this year were turned away due to limited availability among the choirs.

Broeker acknowledged her students as the reason for the program’s success over the years.

“I think it’s the energy and attitude that our students bring to every rehearsal, as well as every liturgy they sing and every concert they perform,” Broeker said.

Senior Bri Velzke, Broeker’s choral activities assistant for the last three years, said she thinks that the communal aspect of choir brings in more students each year.

“All of us just love each other and are so in love with choir. It just completely exudes in our performances,” Velzke said.

Velzke also said she believes that Broeker’s personality contributes to the choirs’ success.

“She is witty and makes everything light-hearted,” Velzke said. “She is just one incredible woman.”

Senior Tommy Glass, Chamber Singers’ vice president, agreed that the choir program has experienced growth. Glass said he believes that this growth was achieved by the choir’s recognition in the community and becoming more well-known on campus.

Sophomore Chamber Singer Magdalena Koebele also gave Broeker credit for the success the program has achieved. Koebele said the dynamic style of teaching and positive attitude that Broeker displays has helped to uplift and motivate each choir member.

“Even when she’s giving you criticism, it’s never negative,” Koebele said. “We feed off of her energy.”

Not only has choir been an opportunity for students to become a part of a community on campus, but senior Chamber Singers President Alison Inhelder said choir is a positive outlet and break from classes during the day.

“This is time where you can be with your friends and let loose,” Inhelder said.

Broeker notes that the overall key to the choir program’s success is the students who are apart of the organization and an incredibly supportive administrative staff.

“They love singing and they love being part of this organization,” Broeker said.

“It’s as if we’re all addicted to choir.”

Sean Crotty can be reached at crot0230@stthomas.edu.