University Chorus and Oakland Chorale Fall Concert

At OU, passion in music is ignited every day by the music department. One class in particular that students are passionate about is University Chorus. It’s an ensemble filled with dozens of students of all skill levels. In addition to University Chorus, OU also has the Oakland Chorale class.

Both the University Chorus and Oakland Chorale will be performing at 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18 and Saturday, Nov. 19 at St. Irenaeus Catholic Church.

“To my knowledge, [University Chorus has been around] since at least the mid-60s,” said Michael Mitchell, professor of music and the group’s conductor. “It was the first choral ensemble on campus and it has been around a long time.”

Mitchell said he wanted to choose songs that spread a message of unity and love.

“Firstly, I wanted to pick music that was educationally valuable to the students,” Mitchell said. “But beyond educationally valuable, I wanted to pick music that was aescetically and spiritually valuable, without crossing over into the boundary of individual spirituality. It’s music that had art behind it in different ways that represent different parts of the human experience. That’s important to me.”

“I have the best job in the world,” Mitchell said. “The attitude of the students in this group is so great. They’re excited, they’re dedicated, and they work hard. I love going to class every day.”

Shea Socrates, a guitar major and member of University Chorus, praised Mitchell’s leadership.

“I’ve never quite done anything like this,” Socrates said. “Dr. Mitchell might be the most compassionate, driven director I’ve ever met . . . He works us to the point where we feel confident in this music.”

Socrates said he had an extremely pleasant experience singing in University Chorus and that its upcoming concert is something people must see.

“There are a lot of people in the bass and baritone section that have been doing this for a long time,” Socrates said. “I feel comfortable asking them, ‘Hey, am I singing this right?’ And they’ll say, ‘No, but let me help you.’ The music is so important. The music is really cool. But, it’s not just about the music. It’s a miniature community.”

Mitchell said that the performance is something that is truly meaningful. It’s something he thinks people will enjoy.

“Our choir concerts at Oakland are interesting, exciting, fun, moving experiences,” Mitchell said. “I joke about the fact that when people think of a choir concert, they think of something boring. One of my life’s missions as a choir director is to change that, one person at a time and one concert at a time. This will not be boring. This will be the opposite of boring. If you come to this concert, it will be incredible, and you’ll be excited you came.”

All are welcome to attend. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased by going to and searching for the Oakland Chorale. Once purchased online, tickets can be picked up at St. Irenaeus Catholic Church. Tickets may also be purchased at the Varner Box Office.

The Oakland Chorale is also planning to take a nine-day European concert tour during summer 2017. The group will tour five cities, including Venice, Croatia and Slovenia.