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New Mexico State University

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NMSU campus choir class offers variety of music for all

One of six choir classes at New Mexico State University is offered for faculty, staff and students who are not necessarily music majors, and the instructors want to see its enrollment increase in future semesters so they can continue giving back to the community.

The New Mexico State University Campus Choir performs at the November 2008 holiday concert at the music recital hall. (Photo Provided by NMSU Choir Office)

"It's a fun, one-credit class to improve energy, health and moods. Everyone needs a way to enjoy music," said college instructor Diane Schutz, adding that those who enroll don't need to have prior singing experience. Enrolling in the class doesn't require an audition or demand soloist performances, yet those who have a desire to sing a solo or small part are strongly encouraged, Schutz said.

The Campus Choir (MUS 161 or 361), made up of about 30 members, sings a variety of genres including Broadway show tunes, pop, gospel, rock and country, to name a few. "Any kind of genre or interest in choreography or instrumental music will be taken into consideration. We're sensitive to the interests of the group," she said.

Schutz set goals to increase the number of NMSU faculty and staff represented, to build the number of non-music majors and to increase the class roster to accommodate 100 students. The class runs Tuesdays throughout the spring 2009 semester from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the music building choir room at the Las Cruces campus.

The group has two major performances each semester and a few scheduled community performances during classroom time at locations such as the Rio Grande Theatre, area nursing homes or to benefit other nonprofit organizations.

The class is directed by Schutz who taught music 27 years in public school systems, 20 of which were at Las Cruces High School. Schutz brought performers to the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall and led a show choir to finish in the top two in national competition. In addition to being the instructor for Campus Choir, she leads 40 singers in the Good Times Singers at Trails West in Mesilla. She plays piano for St. Paul's United Methodist Church and sings with the big band, Ron Thielman High Society Orchestra.

Campus Choir supporting staff members include college instructor and assistant director Alan Kuncel and accompanist Pamela Dixon.