Conservatory Singers is a mixed-voice ensemble of 40-60 singers, open to CMU students of any major. Conservatory Singers performs a variety of choral literature from the Renaissance to the present day. The ensemble performs in concerts and worship services at Linn Memorial United Methodist Church on the CMU campus, and at churches in Fayette and surrounding communities. Conservatory Singers is conducted by Dr. Laura Wiebe, Assistant Professor of Choir and Voice.
Scholarships are available to all students participating in fine arts, regardless of major. Students must be accepted to CMU and audition in order to qualify for a scholarship.
History of the CMU Choirs
The Central Methodist University Choir, originally A Cappella Choir, was organized by Professor Luther T. Spayde in the fall of 1932 when 55 students, faculty and townspeople expressed a desire to sing in a choir for church services. In November of that year the choir made its first trip, giving a concert on Saturday afternoon over radio station WDAF in Kansas City and singing at the services of two Kansas City Methodist Churches. A one day trip was taken to three nearby cities that spring.
The fall of 1933 found the first auditions for the choir being held and membership was limited to Central students and faculty. In April of 1934, concerts were given in St. Louis, St. Charles and Mexico; and in May another one-day, three-city trip was taken. The Choir had established itself as an outstanding vocal organization.
Luther Spayde continued to direct the choir until his death on October 11, 1972. After such a strong beginning for the CMU Choir, Spayde's successors: Dr. Marilyn Dimond, 1972-73; Dr. John Roberts, 1973-76; Dr. John Ditto, 1976-1978; Dr. John Augenblick 1978-1981; continued the history of excellence with the CMU Choir.
In the fall of 1981 Dr. R. Paul Drummond became the Choir's sixth director. CMU Choirs were under the leadership of Dr. Drummond until his untimely death in September 2007. Dr. Ron Shroyer, Dean of the Swinney Conservatory, assumed the position of interim director for the 2007-2008 year. Dr. Claude R. Westfall was appointed Director of Choral Activities in July, 2008.
Throughout the years, the CMU Choirs have continued in the vein of excellence established by Luther Spayde and has received many honors and accolades. In 1982, while under Paul Drummond's leadership, the Choir was presented with "Resolutions of Congratulations on the A Cappella Choir's 50th Anniversary" from the Missouri State Senate and the House of Representatives. In the fall of 2007, the CMU Chorale celebrated the 75th anniversary of the fall choir tour.