The choral/vocal program at Hanover consists of Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and a Private Voice Studio. Under the creative leadership of Dr. Madlen Batchvarova the choirs have performed at professional league sporting events, the American Choral Directors Association Central Division Convention, and have toured locally, nationally, and internationally. The annual Christmas at Hanover concert is well-received and attracts a large audience. Another holiday favorite is the Hanover College-Madison Community performance of Handel's oratorio "Messiah."
The Hanover College Concert Choir concentrates on several musical styles from Baroque to contemporary. The group performs both a cappella pieces and works with a variety of instrumental ensembles. Its repertoire includes larger choral masterpieces such as Handel's oratorio Messiah, Vierne's Solemn Mass, Schubert's Mass in G, and Leos Janacek's “The Lord’s Prayer . The group enjoys multicultural choral works representing music of the world. The Hanover College Concert Choir rehearses Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 5 p.m. until 6:15 p.m.. There are usually between two and six performances each semester. The Concert Choir also performs at Baccalaureate and Commencement Ceremonies of Hanover College. The concert tours occur either during Spring Break, or in the summer. For more information on the Concert Choir literature, please see our Repertoire page.
Hanover College Chamber Singers is a select vocal ensemble. Members are chosen after an audition among singers in the Concert Choir. This is an advanced vocal ensemble numbering 16-24, whose members are predominantly Music Scholarship recipients, music majors or minors. The group currently practices twice a week; Tuesdays (4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) and Thursdays (4 p.m. to 5 p.m.).
Chamber Singers perform primarily a cappella, and present works from Renaissance and contemporary choral heritage. The group strives to achieve a captivating performance atmosphere, relying on authentic performance practices. Its plans for the upcoming season include American premieres of new musical works. For more information on the Concert Choir literature, please see our Repertoire page.
Contemporary Vocal Ensemble
The Contemporary Vocal Ensemble gives advanced members of the choral program the opportunity to perform in a chamber group dedicated primarily to vocal jazz.
The choral/vocal program at Hanover College offers individual voice lessons for beginners, and advanced singers. Members of the voice studio of Dr. Batchvarova have the opportunity to present solo voice concerts at the end of Winter Term. The singers are trained in the bel canto vocal technique, with emphasis on beautiful, healthy sound, highest level of expressivity. The students are trained in the standard Italian, German, French, Latin and Spanish art song, as well as operatic repertoire. They also have the unique opportunity to study the solo heritage of the Russian, Bulgarian, and Check compositional masters.
The members of the voice studio have numerous solo opportunities. They are regular soloists for the annual "Messiah" concert, the Fall and Spring Choral Ensembles' concerts. They sing at the Department of Music Performance hour, and present a studio voice recital. Some recent class productions include: ”Under the Tuscan Sun - An Evening of Italian Art Songs,” “Opera Arias,” “Magical Mozart Night,” “An Evening at the Opera,” “Operetta - The European Musical.”
Interested in joining the Concert Choir?
Regardless of your musical background-whether you were a soloist in high school or if your performances have so far been limited to the shower - if you love to sing, your chances at being admitted to the Concert Choir are good. Here is some information that should be helpful if you want to join the choir:
The Hanover College Concert Choir rehearses Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m., depending on the academic term. There are usually between two and six performances each semester. These are generally scheduled on weekends. The Concert Choir also performs at Hanover’s Baccalaureate and Commencement ceremonies. The concert tours occur either during Spring Break or in the summer. Members are expected to attend all rehearsals and performances.
The Concert Choir does not charge its members any dues or fees. Performance attire for men is a black tuxedo, and for women is a custom order black dress. Each singer is financially responsible for his or her apparel. For more casual performances, members are expected to own a white dress shirt, a Hanover College logo t-shirt, black pants and dark shoes. Generally, the College pays for travel and lodging expenses during tours, except in the cases of international travel and/or a national tour (e.g., performing at Carnegie Hall).
The audition process
Auditioning for the Concert Choir is a short, painless process. There are several ways to join: during the First-Year Experience, by contacting the director to set up a time or attend the first few rehearsals and then audition. This evaluation performance is to determine your singing ability and allows the director to get to know your voice and sign you in.
During the audition, the director will play several different pitches on the piano and ask you to match them. Pitches will be within a natural range for the female and male voices. If you can successfully match the pitch, the director will then test your range for placement within the Concert Choir by asking you to sing five-note scales with the piano, moving upward or downward by half-steps. By exploring your full range, it will be possible to determine where you would be comfortable in the choir (Soprano I, Soprano II, Alto I, Alto II, Tenor I, Tenor II, Baritone or Bass). Once you have been assigned a part, the director will assess your knowledge of musical notation. The director will ask you to identify clefs, a time signature, the signs for sharps and flats, and a few pitches. The audition will conclude with a short interview regarding your prior musical experiences.
The audition is not a scary experience. The single most important issue is determining if you can match pitch well. If so, you are well on your way to becoming a part of a Hanover tradition!
The Advanced Ensemble
If you are an experienced musician, and have been accepted into the Concert Choir, you are eligible to join the Chamber Singers. This is an advanced ensemble numbering 16-24, whose members are predominantly music majors or minors.
Yes, you can get college credit for participating in a choral ensemble. Both Concert Choir and Chamber Singers are offered as academic courses by the Music Department. Both ensembles have credit (0.25) and non-credit options. A total of 1 unit of ensemble music taken for academic credit partially satisfies Literary and Artistic Perspectives (LA) Core Curriculum Requirement (CCR).
About the Director
Dr. Madlen Batchvarova, Professor of Music and Director of Choral Programs at Hanover College, Indiana, is a dynamic conductor, clinician, music educator, pianist, singer, and a GRAMMY Award recipient, who is equally adept with classical and multicultural repertoire. A native of Bulgaria, Batchvarova has honed her ability to communicate with choirs while performing and recording under the baton of Maestro Robert Shaw and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Chorus. She has conducted and presented her scholarly work at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, New York, Musikverein, Vienna; the Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria; the Royal Academy of Music, London; the University of Granada, Spain and at state and division conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). She has been a jury member at the International Choir Festival in Preveza, Greece, and the Student Conductor’s Competition at the 2007 ACDA National Convention. With organist David Lamb, Batchvarova has performed on American Public Media’s “Pipedreams Live” and released a piano-organ duet CD, “Duetti Capricciosi,” found on amazon.com. She has served on the Indiana State and the ACDA Central Division executive boards as Chair of Ethnic and Multicultural Perspectives.
If you have questions about any part of the audition process, feel free to contact Dr. Madlen Batchvarova, Director of Choral Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.