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Special Projects & Collaborations

The Drake choral program frequently embarks on comprehensive learning projects that take singers and audiences deeper in their exploration of important topics.

Recent projects have included rehearsals, seminars, guest presentations, community service, and performances centered on the role music plays in creating and recalling memories (Wanting Memories), topics related to home, including immigration, refugee resettlement, and homelessness (Where You Below), the ways in which labeling people as “the other” can lead to bullying and genocide (To Be Certain of the Dawn), and the relationship between words and music (Words for Music).

In addition, Drake choruses have collaborated with a number of composers, poets, guest conductors, and other ensembles. Recent collaborations have included those with:

  • Stephen Paulus, American composer of over 400 instrumental and vocal works
  • Michael Dennis Browne, frequently published poet, and collaborator with Stephen Paulus on the oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn
  • Charles Anthony Silvestri, librettist for the music of Eric Whitacre, Dan Forrest, and other well-known composers
  • Robert Sund (Sweden), internationally acclaimed conductor
  • David Hill (England), conductor of England’s BBC Singers and formerly the director of music at Winchester Cathedral and St. John’s Chapel, Cambridge University
  • Sandra Snow, nationally recognized conductor and pedagogue, professor of choral studies at Michigan State University
  • David Dickau, noted American composer and director of choral music at Minnesota State University-Mankato
  • John Armstrong, Syracuse, New York composer and master teacher
  • The King’s Singers (England)
  • Chanticleer, America’s premiere vocal ensemble (Two Drake alumni have recently been members of this ensemble)
  • Boni Pueri (Czech Republic)
  • Cantus (Minneapolis)
  • Seoul Women’s Chorus (South Korea)

Each year Drake’s choruses collaborate to perform a major choral/orchestral work with a faculty/student orchestra assembled for this concert.

Works performed recently include:

  • Haydn’s Nelson Mass
  • Mozart's Mass in C Minor
  • Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms
  • Dona nobis pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • To Be Certain of the Dawn by Stephen Paulus.

Drake choirs also collaborate with the Des Moines Symphony, most recently in performances of the Beethoven Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Second Symphony, and Mendelssohn’s A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream.

In April 2013, all four Drake choirs sang Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana with the Des Moines Symphony, under the direction of Maestro Joseph Giunta. 

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