A First Semester (Why Audition?)

Caroline Hinrichs ‘22

Now is the time when students celebrate the anticipated arrival of Winter Break with all the pure delight associated with the first snow of the year (though that happened in October — just Ithaca things!!). It’s also a time to reflect on the events of the semester. As a freshman, I found that this semester encompassed a lot of new things — some wonderful, some challenging, some wonderfully challenging. I’m happy to say that my experience with the CU Chorus falls into the last category.

I remember the day over the summer when I saw a Facebook post by the recruitment chair about the Chorus. Eager to continue my high school interest in choral music, I clicked over to this website and excitedly looked through recordings and blogs (just like this one!). It was clear that the Chorus had a lot to offer musically, but at the same time, I couldn’t help wondering if all of the hype on the website about love and community was true. Regardless, I wanted to find out. That same day, I signed up for an audition and resolved to come to campus and try out. 

Once I got to Cornell, my nerves almost got the better of me. I was a little sick, I told myself, and my voice wasn’t at its best. Then, I went to the Orientation week concert and was blown away by such pure, cohesive sounds — I decided I had to give it a shot.

An audition is an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, but every single member of the Chorus I interacted with during the audition process was nothing less than helpful and kind. Today, I am so glad I tried out. I have grown and been challenged in my musicianship, but I have also found my place as part of a community on campus that is strengthened by almost 100 years of marvelous music-making. To learn the Cornell songs, to sing on the Bailey Hall stage, to don the long black evening dress and flower boutonnière — experiencing all these nostalgic, beautiful traditions as a newcomer made me feel at home at the University. I had just arrived, and yet I had the privilege of contributing to something greater than myself, stretching long through generations past and wide across the country and the world. Being part of Chorus means that you are Cornell. You represent the University, and are part of the tradition that forms its vast, venerated, ever-beating heart.

Today, I can confirm that what they say about the Chorus is true. We are like a family. I have made some of my closest friends within the freshman class through Chorus, and I’ve also had the opportunity to meet inspiring upperclassmen and alumni who have shared their valuable insights on life and being a Cornell student. Making such connections as a freshman is truly a unique opportunity. 

Do you love making choral music too? Do you feel called to tradition, belonging, and community? Please, take the leap and audition. We would love to have you.


Happy Holidays from the Chorus Class of 2022!