Choral Ensembles

Chorale Ensemble, Mount Holyoke College


Performances and tours are among the true highlights of a college career, and friendships forged in MHC choral ensembles last a lifetime.

History of the Choral Ensembles

In 1877, Miss Charlotte Steele organized a select chorus to give "open air concerts on campus in summer." A student-led Glee Club, Banjo, and Mandolin society existed from the 1880's to the 1920's. " social functions rather than in serious musicianship, its programs were modelled on those of the men's college glee clubs and included popular ballads and glees."

In 1893, the year after a department of music was created at Mount Holyoke, Prof. Fletcher formed "a sing anthems and choruses on Founder's and Commencement Days and at occasional Vespers services." In 1899, College Organist Prof. William C. Hammond organized a College Choral Club, later called the College Choir or "Carol Choir" which became widely celebrated for their annual Christmas Carol Concerts performed on campus and also in Hartford, Philadelphia, Boston, in New York's Town Hall and even (in 1926) at the White House.

Professor Ruth Douglass '23 remained at Mount Holyoke after her graduation, as soloist, vocal coach, Associate Conductor, and, after Hammond's retirement in 1937, as Choral Director, until 1967. In 1937, one student wrote that "the combined membership of the class choirs is more than three hundred, nearly a third of the whole student body. From among the upper-class choirs is selected every year a Glee Club of about a hundred voices." Miss Douglass' Glee Club continued the tradition of annual Christmas concerts in New York City and made a special album for Columbia Records in 1949. Her choirs provided music for compulsory chapel services and frequently performed with collegiate men's choruses.

Juilliard Conservatory graduate Tamara Knell (now Brooks, recently on the faculty at New England Conservatory), Choral Director from 1967-70, led two European concert tours--winning first prize at the Hague International Koorfest -- and introduced Mount Holyoke singers to a wide repertoire of significant choral literature for women's voices.

Professor Catharine Melhorn (with degrees from Smith College, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Illinois) came to Mount Holyoke in 1970 to direct Concert Choir and was named Choral Director in 1971. Under her quarter century of leadership, Mount Holyoke choirs won critical acclaim throughout the US and abroad (South America, Russia, Sweden, Spain, central and eastern Europe, England and Wales, and Costa Rica).

Kimberly Dunn Adams joined the Mount Holyoke faculty in 2006. Under her direction, all three ensembles continued their legacy of performing diverse and socially relevant repertoire. Miguel Ángel Felipe acted as interim director of the choirs during the 2009-2010 school year while Professor Adams was finishing her doctorate degree at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Lindsay Summers Pope '07 was the Director of Choral Activities and Visiting Lecturer in Music at Mount Holyoke College from 2011 through 2016. Under her direction, the  choral groups performed a challenging, varied repertoire for women's voices, joint concerts for mixed chorus, and led an alumnae tour of Ireland in Summer 2015. All of the choral ensembles continue the tradition of presenting the annual Christmas Vespers concerts on campus, in New York City, and in Boston. Choral music at Mount Holyoke is still going strong, with almost 200 students involved in singing every year.


Auditions are held at the beginning of each semester by appointment, contact Director of Choral Activities Stephanie Council  for more information.

How do I join?



The Chorale (Music 193fs) is an auditioned ensemble open to students from all four classes, graduate students, female faculty and staff. The ensemble meets twice weekly in McCulloch Auditorium--Mondays 7:15-9:30 pm and Wednesdays 4:15-5:45 pm. Students receive 1 academic credit per semester.

Each year, Chorale sings in a variety of languages and in a full range of styles. Sight-reading and music theory are incorporated into rehearsals, balancing musical training with a performance-based curriculum. 

Thousands of women have been involved in singing at Mount Holyoke College and for many it begins right here. If you are interested in belonging to a diverse, artistic community, don't miss singing with an MHC chorus. You will sing great music, make new friends, and have a wonderful time!

Chorale Repertoire


Francesca Caccini, Aure volanti
Chen Yi, Chinese Mountain Songs
Eleanor Daley, Lake Isle of Innisfree
Gabriel Faure, Cantique de Jean Racine
Georgian, Chela
Georgian, Megruli Alilo
G.F. Handel, Music, spread thy voice around
G.F. Handel, No, di voi non vo fidarmi
Felix Mendelssohn, Lift Thine Eyes 
Claudio Monteverdi, Pur Ti Miro 
Sacred Harp, Sweet Prospect 
Heikki Sarmanto, Hanget Soi 
Ethel Smyth, March of the Women
South African, Vela Vela
Gwyneth Walker, Lessons from the Sea 


David Brunner, Yo le canto todo el dia
David Carpenter (arr.), How Can I Keep from Singing?
Pablo Casals, Nigra Sum
Aaron Copland, At the River
Georgian Traditional, Modi modi gazapkhulo
Georgian Traditional, Shari shuri
Robert Hugh (arr.), How Can I Keep from Singing?
Andrej Jansons, Balts sniedzins
Roh Ogura, Hotaru Koi
Sergei Rachmaninoff, Angel
South African Traditional, Lizela
Eli Storbekken, Kulokk
Charles Albert Tindley arr. Barbara Baker, The Storm is Passing Over
Eric Whitacre, Five Hebrew Love Songs


Leroy Anderson (arr. Gionfriddo), Sleigh Ride
J. S. Bach, Duet from Cantata No. 37
Allen Bonde, To Walk Beyond Dreams
Benjamin Britten, Wolcum Yole!
Georgian, Lechkhumuri naduri
Michael Haydn, Laudate pueri Dominum
Zoltán Kodály, Esti dal
Clifton Noble Jr., This Little Light of Mine
Robert Schumann, Nänie
Robert Schumann, Triolett
Robert Schumann, Spruch
Serbian(arr. Nick Page), Niška Banja
South African, Mamoshimane
Ukrainian (arr. Stetsenko), The Angels Exclaimed 
Gwyneth Walker, How Can I Keep from Singing?
Mack Wilberg, Shenandoah
Ralph Vaughan Williams, Linden Lea


Britten, Benjamin, "This Little Babe"
Brown, Gregory, "Five women bathing in moonlight"
Chen, Phyllis, Song for Syrinx
Estevez, Antonio, "Mata del ánima sola"
Georgian traditional, "Didebata"
Hogan, Moses, "My soul's been anchored"
Jones, Nathan, "Quelle est cette odeur agréable"
Mendelssohn, Felix, "Abendlied"
de Morales, Cristóbal, "O magnum mysterium"
Paulus, Stephen, "The Road Home"
Raminsh, Imant, Songs of the Lights
South African traditional, "Saphela isizwe"
Walker, Gwyneth, "How Can I Keep From Singing?"

Glee Club 2015

Glee Club

The Glee Club (Music 293fs) is an advanced ensemble enrolling students from all four classes, graduate students, female faculty, and staff. The group meets twice weekly in McCulloch Auditorium--Mondays 4:15-5:45 pm and Wednesdays 7:15-9:30 pm. Students receive 1 academic credit per semester.

The Mount Holyoke Glee Club travels across the country and around the world. Under the direction and leadership of our previous director, Catharine Melhorn, we have undertaken choral tours to South America, Canada, England and Wales, Russia and Sweden, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, the former Yugoslavia, Spain, and Costa Rica, as well as to many parts of the United States (most recently to New Orleans and Pennsylvania; in earlier years to Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, California, Washington, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Washington DC, and bi-annually to Boston and New York). 

We explore a wide range of music, for women's and mixed voices. Joining with some of America's finest collegiate men's choirs (most recently from Harvard, Cornell, Rutgers, and University of Virginia), we perform major choral/orchestral works, such as Haydn's Harmoniemesse Brahms's Requiem, and Bach's St. John Passion and Mass in b minor. We also value shorter and smaller works--from brand new pieces written especially for us, to music spanning all the world's folk traditions.

We know that music--choral singing especially--connects us with others and provides true recreation for the soul. Our singers often claim they leave even the most demanding rehearsals with new energy to face the long night ahead, to tackle that essay due in the morning, or that lab report due yesterday!

Glee Club Repertoire


Amy Beach, The Chambered Nautilus
Johannes Brahms, Adoramus Te
Maurice Durufle, Requiem 
Reena Esmail, Tuttarana
Frode Fjellheim, Eatnemen Vuelie
Gabriel Faure, Cantique de Jean Racine
G.F. Handel, Music, spread by voice around (Solomon)
Gustav Holst, Two Eastern Pictures
Sarah Hopkins, Past Life Melodies 
Arvo Part, Peace upon you, Jerusalem 
Eric Sawyer, Concord Hymn 
Ethel Smyth, March of the Women 


Ernani Aguiar, Salmo 150
Betty Bertaux (arr.), What Wondrous Love
Johannes Brahms, Nänie (Funeral Song), Op. 82
Johannes Brahms, Vier Gesänge für Frauenchor (Four Songs for Female Choir), Op. 17
Aaron Copland, At the River
Claude Debussy arr. Alan Raines, Nuit d’etoiles
Ēriks Ešenvalds, Gaujas Meita Rotātāja (Adorning River Gauja Daughter)
Georgian Traditional, Diadeb
Robert Hugh (arr.), How Can I Keep from Singing?
Otmar Mácha, Hoj, hura hoj!
A.J. Rahman, Wedding Qawwali
Joan Szymko, A la media noche
Guiseppe Verdi, Laudi alla vergine Maria


Leroy Anderson (arr. Gionfriddo), Sleigh Ride
Allen Bonde, To Walk Beyond Dreams
Georgian, Diadeb
Georgian, Qanuri
James Gordon, Frobisher Bay
William Hauser, Invitation
Joseph Haydn, Harmoniemesse
Gustav Holst, Ave Maria
Stephen Hatfield, Las Amarillas      
Nathan Jones, What Shines
Felix Mendelssohn, A Midsummer Night’s Dream incidental music
Knut Nystedt, Hosanna        
Robert Schumann, Der Wassermann
André Thomas, Keep Your Lamps!
Veljo Tormis, Sügismaastikud (Autumn Landscapes)
Mack Wilberg, Shenandoah                              


Betinis, Abbie, "Cedit, Hyems"
Brown, Gregory, "Five women bathing in moonlight"
Debussy, Claude, "Salut printemps"
Fili, Michael, "Himmelsknabe"
Førde, Jan Magne, "Safari"
Georgian traditional, "Diadeb"
Georgian traditional, "Lechkhumuri maqruli"
Handel, G. F., Foundling Hospital Anthem
Paranjoti, Victor, "Dravidian Dithyramb"
Paulus, Stephen, "The Road Home"
Tchaikovsky, P. I., "Much too soon in the season"
Schubert, Franz, "Psalm 23"
South African traditional, "Hlonolofatsa"
South African traditional, "Saphela isizwe"

Chamber Singers

The Chamber Singers (297fs) is a highly select chamber choir of 12-16 voices drawn from Glee Club and Chorale. Rehearsals are in the Warbeke Room of Pratt Hall on Thursday evenings 7:15-9:15 pm. Students receive 1 academic credit per semester. Members of Chamber Singers usually possess excellent music reading skills, and enjoy the greater independence of being one of just a few voices on a part. The group specializes in challenging repertory from the 20th and 21st centuries, but regularly performs works from varied musical periods and genres. While the students in the Chamber Singers are talented and accomplished musicians, they major in a broad range of academic subjects including music, literature, biology, religion, and film studies.

Chamber Singers Repertoire


Abbie Betinis, Be Like the Bird
Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Gloria in altissimis Deo from Two Motets
Hugo Distler, Das verlassene Magdlein and Lied vom Winde
Hildegaard, Karitas Habundat
Knut Nystedt, Karleckens Lov 
Josef Rheinberger, Ein Bild am Pfade and Der Gebirgsbach
R. Murray Schafer, Snowforms
Yossi Spivak, Ma Navu 


Abbie Betinis, Jerusalem Luminosa
Georgian Traditional, Shen khar venakhi
Edvard Grieg, Ved Rundarne
Michael Kohl (arr.), Maybe
Knut Nystedt, Shells
Francis Poulenc, Ave Maria
Francis Poulenc, Selections from Petites Voix
Veljo Tormis, Lauliku lapsepõli


J.S. Bach, Cantata No. 150 (“Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich”)
Bulgarian (arr. Petar Liondev), Kafal sviri
Bulgarian (arr. Philip Kutev), Dragana I Slaveya
Corsican, Agnus Dei
Corsican, U Ventu
György Ligeti, Idegen földön
Guillaume de Machaut, Puis qu’en oubli
John Rutter, Deck the Hall
Lana Walter, This Endris Night        


Anonymous 4, "Nowel: Owt of your slepe aryse"
Britten, Benjamin, "Sweet was the Song"
Corsican chant, "Tota pulchra es"
Duruflé, Maurice, "Tota pulchra es"
Georgian traditional, "Diadeb"
Georgian traditional, "Maqruli"
Georgian traditional, "K'akheti"
Hauser, William, "Invitation"
McClellan, Robinson, The Woman Turns Herself into a Fish
Parker, Alice, "Hark I Hear the Harps Eternal"
Poulenc, Francis, Litanies à la vierge noire
Storm, J. P., "Blooming Vale"
Walker, William, "Sweet Prospect"

Music School of Delaware opens Hockessin branch

School to feature summer kids camps

Karen Jordan: assigned to the Music School of Delaware's satellite location in Hockessin.
Mount Holyoke Chamber Singers

Affecting change through choral music

Lindsay Pope '07: I could have gone to a conservatory, but because I went to MHC, I had more performance opportunities in a less competitive environment.