A two-year pilot program for a choral intern program is beginning at UCUCC this fall. UCUCC has a strong history of exemplary music being shared in our church, and this tradition will be enhanced with the creation of a choral intern program. In September, four college-aged choral interns will be hired to sing as part of the Chancel Choir.
A choral intern is a vocal musician who serves as a vocal model for their assigned section and facilitates sectional work during rehearsals. As there will be four choral interns, one will be assigned to each choral section: soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. The use of choral interns is a long-standing tradition with many church choirs across the US and are often found in towns/cities with universities.
Our Music Director, Benjamin Rogers, had their introduction to music ministry from singing as choral intern at Wesley United Methodist Church in Macomb, Illinois. Benjamin began singing as a choral intern in their bass section, and after a year and a half moved into an interim director spot to support their music director, who was out for a while musical directing a show at the local university. Drawing from their experience as a choral intern, it has become a goal of Benjamin’s to implement a choral intern program to amplify UCUCC’s music program and connections within our community.
The primary mission of this choral intern program includes enhancing the quality of our music at UCUCC, forming a connection with UW and other local colleges, and fostering inclusivity within our music programs and greater community. With forming a connection with our surrounding colleges, we are making an effort to introduce college-aged musicians to music ministry, but also introduce younger folk to our church. Our choral interns will also be providing a foundation for less musically-inclined folk to join the choir more confidently and a means for programming more diverse repertoire with structures in place to perform the music more authentically. Now that we will have a dedicated staff member for each section, more individuals who have less experience reading music or participating in performing ensembles can be placed next to choral interns in rehearsals to develop healthy singing habits and develop a sense of pitch and rhythmic accuracy on the repertoire we prepare.
Our choral interns will do more than enhance the strength of the choir. It becomes another way to foster a sense of community, building relationships between the interns and their sections. This becomes an opportunity to share with young adults how the ministry is more than the music made, but also these deep connections. We have a chance to model for them how to lead in a community that prioritizes caring along with the music making. We are excited to begin this choral program and see how it transforms our musical experiences throughout the next two years.