On Nov. 8, the Tudor Voices displayed all of their hard work and dedication at their fall concert in Kaeuper Hall. Tudor Voices is a select chamber choir that specializes in early western European music. Currently, there are fifteen freshmen through senior members, and they sing, but are not limited to, songs for SATB. Auditions for this prestigious ensemble were held in the beginning of the semester during the first week of classes.
Dr. William Gorton is the director of the group and has taken a new direction this year. “So far, I’ve been trying to do music that I know would be appealing to students and audiences rather than straight pedagogy. I’m not just trying to teach them repertoire,” Gorton said. “The quality of the music is more important than the style.” He also puts the students in costumes in order to “evoke the period and create an image of a different era. I wanted something that would distinguish the group from the normal black and white choirs, good as they are.”
This is Gorton’s first year at Millikin University. Prior to working here, Gorton attended Arizona State University to obtain his doctorate in choral conducting. He also worked a number of years as a church music director, had a professional tenor job, and was a private studio voice teacher. He has also been writing music for about twenty-five years. His hymn “O God, In Whom We Live” was published in the Worship and Song Book of the United Methodist Hymnal. “Occasionally, I’ve been using the group [Tudor Voices] to record demos of my works and send them into publication. The students seem to enjoy that variety from their usual fare,” Gorton said. In addition to Tudor Voices, he teaches private studio voice lessons and coaches and rehearses the operas. “My favorite part about directing Tudor is just being able to have everyone in the group unify their sound and expression of the pieces. It’s very gratifying to work with young people that are dedicated and who love that type of music,” Gorton said.
He said he is most eager to see them grow in size, skill, and outreach. They are a great tool for spreading the good word of Millikin to students from other regions. As for future plans, he would like to focus on a repertoire that is a bit larger in scope, such as the “Jepthe” Carissimi oratorio. The upcoming event the Tudor Voices will be singing at is on Dec. 4 at the Christmas Gallery Walk for the Decatur Gallery Arts Council at 5:30pm. They have performed at Concertino on Sept. 20 and the fall choral concert in addition to their other concert. There will be another round of auditions for next semester held sometime during finals week- be sure to watch for it! Anybody can audition, but it certainly helps to have significant choral experience and the ability to read music.