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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Faculty and staff use lunch breaks to sing [w/ VIDEO]

    Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

UA Dancer teacher
    Valentina Martinelli
    Valentina Martinelli/ Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Dancer teacher

    When someone shares a secret, it is usually assumed that you are not supposed to share it with anyone. Gail Cordy thinks otherwise.

    “”We’re the best kept secret on campus, and we’re trying not to be a secret,”” said Cordy, the president of the UA Faculty/Staff Choir. The group practices every Monday and Thursday at 12:10 p.m. in room 106 of the Music building.

    Eight years ago, Cordy happened to catch the choir’s December performance at the UofA Bookstore. What hooked Cordy was the choir’s parody of “”The Twelve Days of Christmas.”” After asking one of her friends about the choir, Cordy decided to join.

    “”It’s a great break during the day,”” Cordy said. “”I’ve been retired for four years. When I was working here on campus, I would come during the lunch hour for choir.”” She used to work as a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey on campus.

    “”When you’re singing, you can’t really worry about anything else because you’re really focused on the sound you have to put out,”” Cordy said. “”So you can’t really worry about that report that’s due at the end of the week or whatever, you know — you just sing. So it was a great stress reliever for me and I think a lot of people find that.””

    Membership is open to all UA employees, including graduate students, former employees and retirees.

    “”One of the unique things about our choir is that we don’t have any auditions or require anyone (to) have musical experience because we’re singing for fun,”” Cordy said. “”We all love to sing, so we don’t really focus on performance as much as just growing.””

    While this semester marks its 20th anniversary, the choir faced an uncertain future 11 years ago.

    In August 1990, the School of Music sent announcements to UA faculty and staff about the creation of a new choir group. According to Steve Rodney, one of the original members, the school wanted the choir to be a training ground for its graduate student conductors. Four choirs were created to accommodate the number of interested members.

    The enthusiastic start could not be sustained, however. Within three years the four choirs, which had close to 150 members, shrank down to one. Membership reached as low as 15 at one point. In 1999, the School of Music decided to stop furnishing a conductor.

    “”After the music department no longer provided conductors, we had to start from scratch,”” Rodney said. “”So there was this nucleus of people who started it up again. David (H. Nix, an attorney in the UA’s Office of the General Counsel) volunteered to be president to get the choir reorganized.””

    While it is not as big as the original groups, the choir has continued to perform at various venues and events on campus and around Tucson over the past decade.

    Many members often sing outside the choir or form their own groups. One memorable event was the first Rolling Requiem.

    “”It was performed around the world on the one-year anniversary of 9/11,”” Rodney said. “”Three hundred and fifty of us sang in Centennial Hall at exactly 6:36 a.m. because that was when the first plane hit the tower. We all wore nametags of people who had died.””

    The choir does not yet have plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary, but it is preparing for its December concert. Cordy shared one song that they would be performing: Giuseppe Verdi’s “”Anvil Chorus.””

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