Choral Scholarship Creates Neighborhood By Music

Above: Charleston Mens Chorus scholarship receiver Driq Graves sings the national anthem all through spring 2021 commencement. (Picture by Mike Ledford)


Tunes is a shared practical experience – 1 that delivers lifestyle to our finest joys and comfort and ease to our deepest sorrows. It gives us a house to be our truest selves and hook up with other folks who also have a music in their heart. 

That ethos is precisely why the Charleston Mens Refrain exists. Launched in 1990 as a volunteer team, the chorus provides a neighborhood for male singers to sing with. Out of the group’s love for tunes has grown a drive to assist youthful singers comply with that same passion.  

That is why the organization funds annual scholarships for two male Faculty of Charleston choral students who are focusing their studies in vocal overall performance or choral conducting. 

“It is a substantial part of our mission to foster songs training for male singers,” suggests Charleston Mens Chorus President Joe Brockington. “We also want to establish more singers for the next era to continue on the tradition of the men’s chorus.”

Which is why, in addition to having fiscal support, recipients of the Charleston Mens Refrain scholarships are invited to be associates of the ensemble. It’s an opportunity that presents the students mentorship from older customers set up in their professions and offers new vocal talent to the chorus. 

“The students support fill out our sound and voice,” suggests Brockington. “Often our younger singers are our most effective singers. The fact that they are voice majors at the faculty level puts them in advance of most of our users who sing as a pastime.” 

Driq Graves (base still left) carried out with the Charleston Mens Chorus as section of a scholarship he gained by the business.

As a a few-yr receiver of the scholarship, Driq Graves ’21, a tunes key with a focus in vocal overall performance, has made the most of the encounter. Even as the coronavirus pandemic forced the Charleston Mens Chorus to rehearse in an outdoor parking garage, socially distanced and putting on masks, Graves ongoing to show up and phase up to support the team. 

“He’s particularly proficient and balances that expertise with modesty,” claims Brockington, introducing that Graves is often keen to aid transfer tools, sing solos and help other choir members in discovering the music. 

Driq Graves sings a solo throughout a Charleston Mens Refrain live performance.

“Of training course, being a school student, anything that can enable me monetarily is a big benefit, but the mentorship is also a massive part of the scholarship,” states Graves. “The men who are in the Charleston Mens Chorus are often inquiring what they can do to enable my properly-becoming not only as a pupil, but as a individual and as a member of their chorus.” 

In reality, when the pandemic prevented Graves from earning dollars as a compensated singer at church companies all around Charleston, forcing him to get on a component-time career to complete his senior 12 months, the Charleston Mens Refrain awarded him further economical support by way of the scholarship in recognition of his dedication and contributions to the corporation. 

“It was absolutely unexpected,” states Graves, who plans to carry on finding out voice with CofC faculty member David Templeton after graduation before then applying to graduate school to go after a occupation in vocal performance. 

University of the Arts Dean Edward Hart ’88, who has grown the school’s romance with the Charleston Mens Chorus due to the fact getting the helm as the chair of the tunes division in 2013, says in a culturally loaded neighborhood such as Charleston, building partnerships with organizations like the men’s chorus is integral to possessing a powerful arts neighborhood in and further than the walls of the Higher education. 

“It’s not only just a issue of monetary philanthropy, it’s about having that relationship in phrases of the new music department being connected with them,” states Hart. “We all thrive in the entire School of the Arts through relationships with other arts and cultural groups in the group, and we’re only built stronger by that.”