Department of Music
Choral classics, new works, spirituals, opera, folksongs, contemporary Christian songs—the Harding Chorus explores all areas of the choral art with style and enthusiasm. This select group of 60 voices is chosen by auditions which are held at the beginning of each school year. Members represent majors from throughout the university's seven colleges; about a third are majoring in an area of music. Rehearsing daily and traveling through this country and abroad, Chorus members develop lifelong friendships, have wonderful musical and cultural experiences, and serve as Harding's ambassadors. The Chorus takes an extended tour each January and shorter trips during the school year in addition to giving a number of concerts on campus and in the Searcy area. They have often appeared with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in the orchestra's Masterworks Series. In 2014 they joined with the orchestra to present Verdi's Requiem, they sang Brahms's German Requiem with the ASO in February of 2016, and they joined the orchestra for Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in February 2019.
Ten recordings of the Chorus have been released and are available through the Harding Bookstore or at tour concerts.
The group has performed in 37 countries in such venues as the Town Hall in Brisbane, Australia; the Conservatory of Music in Beijing, China; the Festival Hall in Corby, England; the University Church in Oxford, England; the Stiftskirche in Aschaffenburg, Germany; the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy; the Chopin monument in Warsaw, Poland; the Beloselsksy-Belozersky Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia; and the Palazzo del Toscano in Catania, Sicily. In all of their concerts they bring a message of musical excellence and spiritual commitment. In May and June of 2010 the group traveled for three weeks to Brazil, Argentina, and Chile. In 2012 they performed in Eastern Europe; in 2014 in Italy, France, Switzerland, Slovakia, and Croatia; and in 2017 in Germany, Netherlands, England, and Scotland.
In May of 2006 the Chorus was awarded the Grand Prix in competition with 14 groups from ten countries in the Mundus Cantat International Choral Festival in Sopot, Poland.
Other vocal ensembles at Harding include the 100-voice Concert Choir; Belle Canto, a ladies' choir; the Chamber Singers; the Belles and Beaux, a pop music ensemble; and the Good News Singers, a contemporary Christian group.
Harding also boasts an outstanding instrumental program, with especially strong marching, concert, and jazz bands. A number of the Chorus members play in the band or orchestra, and they play major roles in the annual fall musical and Spring Sing. The music department encourages its students to develop their vocal, instrumental, and keyboard talents through many avenues.
About the Director
As an assistant professor of music at Harding University, Dr. Susan E. Shirel serves as the Vocal Area Coordinator, teaches private voice and music education courses, and previously directed Belle Canto—Harding’s auditioned women’s ensemble for 5 years. She holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy from Texas Woman's University and the Doctor of Arts in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Ball State University. Prior to joining the Harding University faculty in 2011, Dr. Shirel earned a Bachelor of Music Education – vocal and instrumental degrees from Harding University and was a secondary choral music educator for 10 years in three states. In addition to her work with the Department of Music, Dr. Shirel enjoys collaborating with the Harding Theatre Department. She has served as the vocal coach and music director for several productions including Annie, Suessical, Joseph, Pirates?!?, Shrek: the Musical, Hands on a Hardbody, and Spring Sing (2013-2015). Dr. Shirel also enjoys performing and was seen on the SSDT stage in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Auditions for choral groups are held during the four days before classes begin in August, during Student Impact.
It is not necessary to prepare anything for the choral audition. We'll ask you to sing through "My Country, 'tis of Thee" a few times in different keys (music and words will be provided); you'll sing some five-note scales with piano accompaniment; you'll do a little sight-reading (you may use solfege syllables or numbers if you like, but no special technique is required); and we'll give you a short tonal memory test in which you'll sing back a few notes we play for you.
After auditions, we'll assign you to the singing group that we feel is best for you—the Chorus or Concert Choir
If you have any questions, please contact us at email@example.com.
Chorus Albums - Listen
These recordings may be ordered through the Harding University Bookstore.
501-279-4351 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the website.
A Holy Child is Born
A holy child is born
O come, all ye faithful
It came upon a midnight clear
Hark! the herald angels sing
To us a child of hope is born
The shepherds' carol
Mary had a baby
In the first light
The Coventry Carol
Good Christian men rejoice
The sleep of the child Jesus
The virgin Mary had a baby boy
Riu, Riu, Chiu
Spanish shepherds' song
Over all the land
Joseph, lieber Joseph mein
Hodie Christus natus est
Come Let Us Sing
Come Let us sing to the Lord
Thou Life of Life
Holy Radiant Light
There is no rose of such virtue
Lift up your Heads
Go tell it on the Mountain
I'll never turn back no more
Was it a Morning Like This
Flight of the Bumblebee
God is Seen
My God is a Rock
Hear the lams a-cryin'
Soon-ah will be Done
Precious Lord, take my hand
Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal
Go down, Moses
Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord
Give me Jesus
I want Jesus to walk with me
He's Got The Whole World in His Hands
Ride On, King Jesus
Let All the World In Ev'ry Corner Sing
We Bow Down
We Bow Down
Because of the impact of Corona Virus, we are still evaluating what events will be safe and musically rewarding.
Harding Chorus repertoire 2019-20 currently includesSPIRITUALS AND HYMN ARRANGEMENTS
Concert in Hildesheim, German (May 2017)
It always rains in London (May 2017)
John Newton's grave - Olney, England (May 2017)
Preparing to sing at St. Helen's Church in Nottingham (May 2017)
Singing for Syrian refugees in Peine, Germany (May 2017)
Selfie action at the Rhine Falls (May 2014)
Ste. Pierre in Geneva (May 2014)
After the concert in Odessa, Ukraine (May 2012)
Newspaper photo and article from Debrecen, Hungary (May 2012)
We sang in a Baroque Jesuit church in Bratislava and were instructed not to sing our folk songs during the concert. So we sang for about 70 minutes, with nothing but folk songs and novelties left in our repertoire, and left the building. The audience followed us outside, where we sang for another 25 minutes. It was a great evening! (May 2012)
Dinner cruise on the Danube in Budapest (May 2012)
On Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro (2010)
Singing at ICANA Hall in Buenos Aires (2010)
Performing at the University of Viña del Mar in Chile (2010)
At the Lincoln Memorial, January 2010
The Chorus at the Forbidden City in Beijing, May 2008
Singing at a university in Wuhan, May 2008
Chorus singing in the Fourvière Basilica in Lyon, France (2006)
Chorus outside the Fourvière Basilica in Lyon, France (2006)
Chorus singing in St. George Concert Hall in Bristol, England (2006)
Concert in the Aberdeen Music Hall in Scotland, with over 800 in the audience (2006)
Chorus singing at Opera Lesna in Sopot, Poland, upon receiving the Grand Prix award in the 2006 Mundus Cantat International Choral Festival
The Chorus at the Great Wall of China - May 2004
Singing at the University of Qingdao - May 2004
People waiting to hear the Chorus Concert, Wuhan, China - May 2004
Singing at a leprosarium in Chiang Mai, Thailand -May 2004
Here's what others are saying about the Harding Chorus
"The repertoire of the Harding [Chorus]...is extraordinarily diversified and presented in a fashion that no British choir would dare attempt.... This splendidly extrovert and sonorous choir treat every piece as though it were its finale." - the Glasgow Herald
"Hosanna in Excelsis... immediately established the top-flight credentials of the young singers....Tenebrae Factae Sunt... displayed a refinement of phrase and line which was thoroughly sophisticated and entirely admirable." - the Aberdeen Press and Journal
"From their opening... the choir's secure intonation, attention to detail and a huge range of shading emotion and pace were apparent." - the Otago Daily Times (Dunedin, New Zealand)