Mitchel Clow ’13
In Fall 2011, Siena College welcomed Timothy Reno, DMA, as its first full-time vocal and choral music director. In only three semesters, what was once a handful of young musicians has evolved into two choirs involving almost 40 singers.
“Tim’s work with the chorus has been outstanding,” said Fr. William Beaudin O.F.M., ’76, who has a master’s degree in music, and was a member of the search committee that recommended Reno for his position. “I attended the choir’s Advent Lessons and Carols in the College chapel last December, and was completely blown away by the quality of their performance. It was an amazing experience.”
Recalling his first weeks on the job, Reno said, “The students were excited about the program, but I had no idea what to expect. I tried to get them involved on campus immediately with new musical opportunities. The results are speaking for themselves.” A few of those opportunities have included singing at a men’s basketball game, Peace Week and the annual Martin Luther King lecture, as well as providing the musical sound track to the College’s Christmas e-card.
It wasn’t long before auditions were held for Siena’s first-ever chamber choir. “I invited students to sing a piece of their choice and perform a sight reading exercise. What we ended up with is a well-balanced group of 12,” Reno said.
In their inaugural season, the Chamber Singers performed at events like Siena’s annual Veterans Recognition Dinner, All Souls Day Mass at the roman catholic cathedral in Albany, and a benefit concert for the Albany Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless.
Most recently, Reno brought a quartet of students to participate in the national convention of the American Choral Directors Association. The quartet joined over 70 college singers to create the chorus-in-residence for the national student conducting competition.
“The competition is always a highlight of the biennial conference. Working on great repertoire with talented undergraduate and graduate level conductors has been a fantastic experience for our students,” Reno said. “The conference also included break-out sessions, master classes,opportunities to connect with colleagues and superlative performances by choirs of every level from around the world.”
Siena’s student participants in the event were English and Creative Arts major Emily Scimeca ’14, Creative Arts majors Mitchel Clow ’13 and Shayne Peris ’15, and Biology major Megan Lesperance ’13.
Reno coached the students before traveling to Dallas, Texas. Upon arrival, they worked with master teacher Ken Fulton and interacted with the student competitors. “Rehearsing with Dr. Reno on top of all of my other school work has been a challenge, but it has definitely been rewarding. I’ve been exposed to new, wonderful pieces that are exciting to both learn and sing,” Scimeca said.
Pictures of the group’s adventures are available at saintsbeyond.com, a new blog for Siena student travel experiences.
Reno and the Siena College choirs are just getting warmed up. In April they will collaborate with Musicians of Ma’alwyck to present Vivaldi’s Gloria, and May brings a Spring Cabaret to campus. Click here to see their spring 2013 schedule and why there is new excitement surrounding the choral program on campus.