Director: Dr. Peter Eklund
University Singers, UNL's premiere and historic flagship choral ensemble, represents the finest and most versatile choral singers in the entire University. They perform music from the thirteenth century through the present, including works written especially for them. They have performed repeatedly for state conventions of the Nebraska Choral Directors Association, the Nebraska Music Educators Association, the North Central Division Conventions of the American Choral Directors Association, and the regional and national Music Educators National Conference conventions in Illinois and Nashville (2002) and the regional ACDA convention (also 2002). In 2001 and 2008, the choir was featured on a prestigious 8pm solo performance at Carnegie Hall.
They have performed with numerous orchestras and have worked under renowned composers, pedagogues, and conductors/artists/scholars/performers (reading like a Who’s Who): Dale Warland, René Clausen, Don V Moses, Lee Kjelsen, Joshua Rifkin, Jeremy Jackman, Weston Noble, Simon Carrington, Sir David Willcocks, William Hatcher, Malcolm Dalglish, Anton Armstrong, Ann Howard Jones, Phil Mattson, Bobby McFerrin, William Warfield, Mack Wilberg, Eph Ehly, André Thomas, the Swingle Singer, Doreen Rao, and the late Moses Hogan, Margaret Hillis, and Robert Shaw (at least four times), to name just a few.
Under the current conductor, Dr. Peter A. Eklund, recent and planned repertoire included/includes the Bach's B Minor Mass, the Duruflé Requiem, Britten's War Requeim, the Verdi Requeim, Tallis’ 40-part motet Spem in Alium, Mendelssohn’s Psalm 42 and Elijah, Honegger’s King David, the Brahms Requiem (three times: once in German, once in English—both with full orchestra, and also the London version with duo pianos), Orff's Carmina Burana, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, the Fauré Requiem, the Mozart Requiem, Walton's Belshazzar’s Feast, Liszt’s Christus, Hindemith’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, Bruckner’s Mass #2, Handel's Messiah, Beethoven's Mass in C, Puccini's Messa di Gloria, Haydn's Harmoniemesse and Lord Nelson Mass, Jongen's Mass Opus 130, Petr Eben's Prager Te Deum, and the operas Elixir of Love and La Bohème.
While many of the singers are music majors, students from throughout the University participate and are encouraged to audition. The choir owns a rich list of distinguished alumni that have gone on to lead choirs and music departments at major universities and Schools of Music across the country over the last 130+ years (and at least two alums have gone on to be ACDA National Presidents).
The University's premier choral ensemble is open to students of sophomore standing and above. Students should schedule an audition time in the spring during dead week (the week before finals week) or during finals week. Accommodations are made for upperclassmen singers new to the campus in the fall. Times for auditioning are posted outside rm203 in Westbrook Music Building. The First Round of auditions consist of singers performing a solo or choral piece that they have prepared (need not be memorized – singers may bring a pianist or they may sing a cappella). A letter and info will be sent to the finalists during the summer – singers will login to the UNL "Blackboard site" and download audition music and prepare it for the fall and Final Round of auditions that will occur on the Sunday prior to the start of class or during the first week of classes (depending on the voice part). During the final round, singers will sing with other singers of like-voice-part and be placed into a choral formation. Rehearsals begin immediately after and performers supply/purchase their own attire (men in black tux tails and ladies in a velvet standard-issue performance dress).