With over 10 years of collegiate conducting and over 25 years of professional music making, Dr. David Klement settled in as Valdosta State University’s Interim Director of Choral Activities last August.
“I like the collegiality of VSU’s faculty and staff,” Klement said. “Everyone is very friendly, supportive and works well together. It’s a really nice environment.”
Shortly after Klement’s arrival, VSU created a fourth choral group. The ensemble, Musical Union, is for community members and students—sort of a “town and gown” group. The intent is for Musical Union to be a larger group, making it capable of performing more complex music pieces that need orchestral accompaniment.
The goal of Musical Union is to become more than 100 members strong and perform one concert at the end of each semester.
In addition to Musical Union, VSU is home to three other choral groups including Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, and Spotlighters. “I like [all choir groups] for different reasons,” Klement said. “I think probably because of the repertoire that I get to work with.”
All ensembles range from 25-35 members, except for the Spotlighters, which consists of 8-12 members. The Spotlighters is an a cappella group, consisting of members mostly derived from the auditions of Chamber Singer members.
“It’s nice to have a Spotlighters group,” Klement said. “It’s a very different style than what we do in Chamber Singers or Musical Union.”
The Spotlighters ensemble focuses on pop and jazz idiom. The size of the group allows for easy travel, making the group a shoo-in to provide entertainment for public events such as ceremonies.
“I enjoy smaller ensembles more in some ways because each singer is responsible for [his or her] part and doesn’t get to rely on anybody else,” Klement said. “The musicianship with which they need to perform and participate keeps getting stronger, challenges them and keeps them on their toes.”
Hannah Frith, 21, is a junior at VSU and has been a Spotlighter member since fall 2018. Frith enjoys being a member of the Spotlighters because it’s a small, collaborative group.
“Even though I’m a voice major, the choir is something I look forward to every day,” Frith said. “Choir is my passion. I don’t desire to be a soloist because I prefer the team aspect.”
Many VSU students think they must be a music major to be in a choir, but that’s just not true.
“One of the key goals [of the music department] will always be recruitment and getting more singers who are not music majors,” Klement said. In fact, any student can be a member of a choral group as long as he or she tries out through an audition coordinated with Dr. Klement.
“For the most part, the schedules are complementary so that people could do a music ensemble even if they are a biology or math major,” said Klement.
The VSU Department of Music is continually growing, improving and trying to make a positive impact on the local arts community. “I think we are working hard to have a relationship with the community, that’s one reason the Musical Union idea came to fruition,” Klement said. “We wanted to find a way to bridge a gap between the student body and all the things happening on campus with community activities.”
As for the Spotlighters, it’s a great group to help break down any barriers that might exist between arts and the community because they are able to perform in public.
“It’s a great experience for the students,” Klement said. “We are always looking for opportunities for ensembles to participate locally in the wider Valdosta environment.”
For questions, comments, or interest in having the Spotlighters provide entertainment at an event, contact Dr. Klement at 229-333-5812 or firstname.lastname@example.orgH