Chorale is back!’ says new director

The pandemic put a pause on group singing, but with the easing of Covid restrictions, the Cornell University Chorale “is most emphatically back,” says Michael Henry Poll de Bien, Chorale music director and Klarman Postdoctoral Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We welcome singers from any department of the university and from the community,” Poll says. “We would most welcome additional participation from tenors and baritones, and anyone who might like to sing should be in touch with our manager, Max Yap. ’26. We were not able to welcome people from outside of Cornell last season, but the time has come for the community to return.”

The Chorale is a mixed voice choir of more than 100 singers, focused on developing each individual's vocal technique and musicianship. The group is composed of both Cornell students and Ithaca residents, giving students and local Ithacans a rare opportunity to get to know one another. The Chorale, say members, is a “welcoming space.”

"In my three years in Chorale, I had the opportunity to really witness the incredible growth and development of the group. Joining Chorale was absolutely one of the best decisions I made in my time at Cornell,” says Howard Weisz '17, an alum of the ensemble.

This season, the Chorale will be singing Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass for its major concert on December 6th, a particularly timely work, says Poll, as  it "was composed for troubled times.” 

Choral music has an “august history” at Cornell, Poll says, having grown out of the Cornell Chorus (founded in 1920) and the Cornell Glee Club (founded in 1868). 

"Chorale is a fun way to connect with music while challenging me to improve my musical literacy and technique,” says Chorale member Julia Poggi ’25. “I also feel connected with my fellow choristers whom I otherwise would not have the chance to know, and enjoy being part of a long-standing community of Cornell singers." 

Adds Chorale member Lionel Levine, Frank Spitzer and Narahari Umanath Prabhu Associate Professor of Mathematics (A&S): “I love the feeling in Chorale of being part of a harmonious whole, connecting with other singers  to create something beautiful together.” 

Listen to some Chorale performances here.

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Chorale members standing in four rows in front of a stone building with stone archway
Provided Cornell University Chorale