At its heart, the Masterworks Chorus at Spivey Hall is about community. It’s compromised of a diverse group of vocalists with varied backgrounds that come together to perform and bring the sounds of classical works alive to music lovers in the Southern Crescent both near and far.
But for those who participate in the choir, the Masterworks Chorus is more than just a performance ensemble–it’s a lesson in the art and technique of vocal expression.
“The consumption of art that we put on is important in any community,” says music education major Brian Adams. “Everybody can enjoy it, take part in it, and sing with the group.”
The Masterworks Chorus is headed up by Dr. Harris Ipock, a new face at Clayton State University this academic year, currently serving as interim director of Choral Activities.
Dr. Ipock discovered his passion for singing early in his college career, having joined four choirs by the end of his freshman year.
“I realized it was something very much in my DNA and I just had to pursue it as a career,” says Dr. Ipock. “That is the main motivating factor. As a job, it is completely a dream job to be able to make music with other human beings for a living. I cannot imagine doing anything else.”
Indeed, Dr. Ipock has turned his love for vocal performance into a full-fledged career. Prior to Clayton State, he served as conductor of the Conservatory Choir at Shenandoah Conservatory and the Harvard Glee Club.
As conductor of the Masterworks Chorus, Dr. Ipock works to make the learning process a positive experience.
“I think with the overall pedagogical approach, I try to teach broad and simple skills early on in the process, so they get a sense when I use a certain term or color, they know exactly what to do,” says Dr. Ipock. “This makes sure I am always consistent with specific direction, a consistent way of bringing it up. The fact that in just a few short weeks of rehearsal we can put something together so beautiful is infinitely inspiring.”
"The consumption of art that we put on is important in any community," says music education major Brian Adams. "Everybody can enjoy it, take part in it, and sing with the group."
Being a member of the Masterworks Chorus takes time and dedication. In fact, the choir ensemble spends a whole semester learning, rehearsing and performing together. Often, they collaborate with other choirs and orchestras from the surrounding community or within the University.
“I’ve learned a lot since day one. I came from a performing arts school, so I have been singing in the choir forever,” says Jamie Gray, a music education major at Clayton State. “I have had great mentors and chorus teachers, but when I met Dr. Ipock, it just completely changed my whole idea of what is a choral educator.”
For others, singing with the Masterworks Chorus gives members an opportunity to perform alongside seasoned talent in a supportive, encouraging environment.
“This is not your average church choir,” says Mark McPherson, a community member and local educator. “We have real professionals who by their own right are excellent musicians who have been selected by the University to lead and to instruct. We get the best training as well as the best place to do it.”
The Masterworks Chorus combines high musical standards with an emphasis on building community and enriching the lives of chorus members and audiences alike. With upcoming performances in April 2019, the choir is currently open to new members. Please contact Dr. Harris Ipock at email@example.com for more information.
Back to the Spring 2019 issue