by Sarah Marie Bruno '16
Coming from a relatively small high school, one thing that concerned me when I entered Cornell as a freshman was how I could possibly navigate such a huge school. While kept close company with my map for the first few weeks, I soon found that there are plenty of ways in which such a large school can rapidly come to feel like a small school. Personally, I found my niche in the Cornell University Chorus, the all-female choral ensemble on campus. As someone who always had a passion for music, the Chorus gave me the opportunity to continue to grow as a musician and vocalist in the company of about 60 other women who share this passion. In addition to providing such fantastic musical and intellectual stimulation, Chorus has also allowed me to form strong friendships with people I may not have met otherwise. Like me, most of the Chorus members are not music majors—we come from all different majors, from all 7 undergraduate colleges within Cornell, and our members include both undergraduate and graduate students. Outside of regular rehearsals, we get together to sing songs and relax. We study together in our “home away from the dorms”—the basement of Sage Chapel, the stunningly beautiful building in which we rehearse and perform. We meet up with our male counterpart, the Glee Club, every Wednesday evening after rehearsal to sing Cornell’s “Evening Song” in a circle in Ho Plaza just as the sun is setting. We have become a small school within the large school—Chorus is more than just a class, but an integral part of our Cornell experience.
Being part of the Chorus has also fueled my Cornell pride, in that both the Chorus and the Glee Club are major participants in many major university functions, including the annual New Student Convocation, Homecoming, and this year, the Grove Dedication as part of Cornell’s Sesquicentennial celebration. The Chorus even had the opportunity to sing Cornell Songs and the Alma Mater for Cornell’s president-elect, Elizabeth Garrett, Cornell’s first female president, during the ceremony in which her appointment was formally announced.
We also serve as ambassadors for Cornell when we perform across the country on our spring tour, and next year, when we will tour internationally. This fall, we performed with the Oxford Schola Cantorum when they visited Cornell, and we will even sing at Carnegie Hall in the spring! While Chorus has been an immensely important part of my experience as a Cornell student, many of my friends who are not part of Chorus feel the same way about activities in which they participate, such as sports teams, a cappella, dance troupes, journalism, and student government. If you are not a singer, there is certainly a group at Cornell in which you can find the same sense of community as well as importance within the larger Cornell community that I found in the Chorus.