Consider Opera an Approved Major Ensemble for Vocalists
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To whom it may concern,
The purpose of this petition is to convince the faculty of SDSU to consider opera an approved major ensemble course for vocalists. The reasons for this are outlined below:
1. Opera class is a large time commitment, requiring 6 or more hours per week. For many people — especially those not required to take opera — this time commitment is a deterrent to participating. The opera is consistently in need of singers, especially tenors and basses; regarding opera as an ensemble course would likely encourage many enrolled in choir to take opera.
2. Opera is one of the most important, vibrant, and influential genres of classical music. Opera as an art form meets, or even exceeds, the relevance, applicability, and importance of choir. Not only does opera compare to choir in an artistic sense but in a tangible, educational sense as well. It requires cast members to learn parts, take direction, and work with peers, all of which are requirements and educational goals of a major ensemble.
3. The high standard of the choral program has declined substantially with the recent departure of Dr. Walders. During Spring Semester 2017, students enrolled in choir were unhappy because leadership was inconsistent, events and scheduling were uncertain, and many were required to take on responsibilities previously held by Dr. Walders. Members of SDSU choirs, for example, ended up planning and executing the entirety of a choral festival held here at SDSU. We were also forced to withdraw from various other engagements, festivals and activities. We understand that the department is working to resolve this issue, but until a full time director is hired, students should be able to choose an ensemble that will meet their professional needs.
4. SDSU should give students a voice in the administering of their education. We realize that the objective of an educational program is not to cater to students’ whims, and, indeed, that doing so can sometimes undermine important goals of the university. But this petition is not an instance of students trying to needlessly reduce their coursework or challenge controversial instruction. We believe the goals of the institution should align with the goals of students. Our goals are no longer being supported by choir, and we feel that opera would better fulfill our needs as majors in the SDSU music department.
We believe that the administration of the SDSU School of Music and Dance has an opportunity to revive the opera department, and that recognizing opera as an approved major ensemble for vocalists would greatly contribute to its success.
Thank you for your consideration.
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