With the 2020-21 academic year, the Choir of the College of William and Mary celebrates 98 years of choral singing at the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States (chartered 1693). The Choir is an undergraduate ensemble of approximately sixty-five members who major in a wide array of disciplines. Auditions are held at the beginning of the fall semester, and will be held again in the spring for transfers and those who have been away from campus during the fall semester. Membership in Choir is generally considered a full year’s commitment.
The Choir makes over thirty appearances during the year. We perform regularly for official events of the College, including Convocation, Homecoming, Sunset Ceremony, Yule Log, Charter Day and Commencement. On campus, the major concerts for the Choir are the Holiday Concerts at the end of Fall semester, and the Spring concerts in late April.
In addition, every third year the Choir performs a major choral work with William and Mary Symphony Orchestra and soloists. The Choir has performed Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem Mass, Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, the Johannes Passion of J. S. Bach as well as Joseph Haydn’s Die Schöpfung and Missa in Angustiis (Lord Nelson Mass). For more information on our performances, please visit our Concert Schedule.
The Choir also regularly ventures beyond the boundaries of William and Mary’s campus, taking an annual, regional, six-day Spring Tour in mid-March (if you are interested in hosting the Choir or suggesting a place to perform, please contact us) and every third year since 1978 traveling and performing overseas. In the summer of 2017 the Choir and Botetourt Chamber Singers undertook a two-week tour to South Africa. 2014 brought them to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. In the summer of 2011, the Choir joined with the Botetourt Chamber Singers on a tour of Italy,Greece and Turkey. Other past tours include Spain, Portugal, and Morocco in 2008 as well as Romania, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia in 2005. To support our International Tours, please visit our Fundraising Page.
The Choir has had the honor of performing twice for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and was one of four choirs invited to perform in concert with the United States Marine Band at the 1997 Presidential Inaugural on the Capitol steps in Washington, D.C. In February 1997, the Choir participated in Ambassador Pamela Harriman’s funeral at the Washington National Cathedral. More recently, the Choir has sung for the investiture of William and Mary’s Chancellors: Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.