The Sounds of Self-Expression

Moravians have always seen music as a necessity rather than a luxury. We have enjoyed a long tradition of vocal and choral music that dates back well before Bethlehem, PA was settled in 1741. It was a fact of life then: everyone sang. Meetings began and ended in song. Families and congregations expressed their grief and their joy by lifting their voices to God above. Singing and making music was a way of spending “quality time” together, a way of enjoying each other’s company, a way of connecting with one’s community. For the early settlers in Bethlehem, music wasn’t so much intended for performance as it was a way of worshiping, a way of being together as a community—a way of living.
The choral and vocal music program at the Upper School shares its philosophy with the early Moravians. All students are encouraged to sing at school events and Chapels, whether it is through hymns, the alma mater, or a rousing chorus of a pop song to close our annual Coffeehouse variety show. We believe that everyone has a voice to share, and finding one’s own instrument and the confidence to use it is a form of community building that helps us to break down self-imposed walls and connect to those around us.

Vocal Opportunities

List of 4 items.

  • Chorale

    Typically over one-third of the student population participates in Chorale, the largest music ensemble in the Upper School. Comprised of students from grades nine through 12, this group performs at numerous events throughout the year.

    Chorale most often sings as a massed mixed-gender ensemble, but also frequently as a men’s or women’s chorus for Coffeehouse, Christmas Vespers, and other special events. They study and perform music from more than eight centuries of choral repertoire, including the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Modern periods, in addition to jazz, musical theater, and music culled from numerous cultures worldwide.

    They perform a cappella repertoire or are accompanied by piano, strings, winds, and a variety of percussion instruments. The emphasis is on developing musicianship skills, understanding and expressing the meaning of the lyrics through the vehicle of the music, and achieving a level of excellence through teamwork. All students are welcome to join Chorale, as are faculty and staff when schedules permit.
  • Chamber Singers

    The Chamber Singers, an auditioned ensemble of up to 36 tenth through twelfth grade members, performs mostly a cappella repertoire taken from any number of sources worldwide and throughout history.

    Students are challenged to master nuances of pitch, music reading skills, vowel formation, ear training, and musicianship in order to prepare and perform challenging works that represent the very best in vocal music for smaller ensembles.

    They frequently sing in other languages such as Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian, as well as less common tongues such as Ladino, Quechua, Swedish, and Czech. We believe it is important to experience a piece of music in its original language in order to have a taste of the culture that influenced its composition.

    This group performs frequently throughout the school year both in school and at functions in the community at-large.
  • Coda Red

    Coda Red is a mixed-voice a cappella ensemble modeled after similar college groups. Their primary mission is to perform music of the pop and jazz idioms in a variety of in-school and community-wide contexts.

    Members are selected from the Chamber Singers and are typically juniors and seniors who have demonstrated that they are both highly capable musicians and performers and that they possess great energy and dedication to our vocal music program. Many of the songs this group performs are arranged for Coda Red by the director.

    Members are also encouraged to contribute song ideas and are coached to develop their own arrangements that they wish to perform as a group.

    This is a fun-loving and flexible group that loves to get out and perform in front of a wide variety of audiences in the Moravian community and the Lehigh Valley at-large.
  • Other Vocal Opportunities

    There are numerous other outlets for students interested in exploring vocal music. These include our weekly Chapel services, open mic nights, the Red and Gold Recital series, Coffeehouse variety show, and the musical theater program, to name a few.

    Students also participate in the Northampton County Chorus festival (by nomination of the director) and the PMEA District/Regional Chorus festival system (selected by audition).

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus