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Iowa Central hosting choral clinic for young men

‘Real Men Sing’ will be held Saturday

-Submitted photo

Iowa Central Community College will be welcoming dozens of young men in grades five through 12 for a first-of-its-kind choral clinic at the college on Saturday.

“Real Men Sing” is part of a nationwide movement to reinvigorate boys’ and young mens’ interest in vocal music performance, said Will Lopes, director of vocal music at Iowa Central.

Young boys are often involved in school choirs in elementary school, but as they get older, that interest wanes, Lopes said.

“Now suddenly, you’re in middle school and singing is no longer as cool because now you’re going to be involved in sports, so you don’t want to sing,” he said. “We felt that, nationwide, there was that need to not only keep kids singing, but we also wanted to show the kids the longevity of their singing.”

Lopes has invited more than 60 area schools to the clinic and hopes to see 150 to 200 students participate.

The singers will be divided into three ensembles: fifth and sixth grades; seventh and eighth grades; and ninth through 12th grades. Each ensemble will work throughout the day with a guest conductor to prepare two pieces of music to be performed at a free concert at the end of the day.

The three guest conductors will be: Brandon Douglas, director of vocal music for Central Community Schools; Brandon Louis, director of vocal music for Southeast Valley High School; and Jonathan Edgeton, assistant director of choirs for Urbandale High School.

Vox Infinitus, a men’s vocal ensemble from Des Moines, will be at the clinic to help mentor and coach the students.

The students will be learning and performing a diverse variety of music, Lopes said.

“They’ll be working on multicultural songs, they’ll be working on folk songs, they will be working on spiritual songs,” he said. “It’s really going to be a combination from Broadway to spirituals.”

In addition to the two pieces each ensemble will be performing, the entire group will learn and perform an original arrangement by Lopes, “I Hear the Sound.”

This event is “something that is a gift to the community, as well,” Lopes said.

The concert at the end of the clinic is free and open to the community to attend.

“We hope to create an excitement and buzz all over to bring choral music to guys and to the community,” Lopes said. “It’s really about the idea that music will take you places and that music is the sound of the heart.”

Students can register for the clinic with their school or individually on their own, Lopes said.

“You don’t have to be involved in your school’s music program to participate,” he said.

There is a registration fee for the clinic, which includes a T-shirt, a reusable water bottle and the sheet music the students will keep. However, Lopes doesn’t want the registration fee to prevent anyone from attending.

“As part of our vision, no kid should be left behind because of funds,” he said. “If there is a financial problem, we will be able to cover it.”

Lopes added that the project is accepting donations and sponsorships to cover the operating costs.

The Real Men Sing choral clinic will be Sept. 21, with the workshop starting at 9 a.m. The clinic will conclude with its free concert at Decker Auditorium at 5 p.m.

For more information on the Real Men Sing choral clinic or to register, visit iowacentral.edu/realmensing.