Montana Tech Adds Choral Union and Announces Call For Auditions

Montana Tech Adds Choral Union and Announces Call For Auditions


Montana Tech is pleased to announce the offering of its music courses on campus and encourages Tech students and community members to audition for its newly formed Choral Union. Beginning with the 2012 fall semester, Montana Tech will offer Choral Union and a special topics course, Voice Lessons. Montana Tech will continue to offer its Band course and allow students to participate in the Butte Symphony. Up to 3-credits of the Choral Union, Band, and Symphony credit can be applied towards fulfilling the General Education graduation requirement.

"We are pleased to begin offering music courses on campus and I encourage our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the community members to participate," announced Montana Tech chancellor Don Blackketter. "This is a great opportunity for our many talented students to participate in music activities. A high percentage of Tech students have musical ability and this new Choral Union offering provides an opportunity to showcase their abilities."

Gary Funk will lead the new music offerings at Montana Tech. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Montana, Master of the Science of Teaching Degree from Portland State University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Arizona State University. He brings 44 years of choral music and voice teaching experience to Tech after recently retiring as director of choral activities at the University of Montana. He has served as conductor of the Butte Symphony Chorale for the past decade.

"When the possibility came forward from Chancellor Blackketter to unite local community singers with those at Montana Tech, I was very interested," explained Funk. "There is hardly a better way to establish a bond between university and community than through singing in a choir such as Montana Tech's Choral Union. It is my sincere hope that not only will Tech students become involved, but that faculty, administrators, staff and spouses will come together with singers from Butte and the surrounding communities to spend quality time on Monday evenings. Singing is such a wholesome activity partly because it expresses the best of our humanness. Not only do I believe that music-making has the capacity to influence us to be better people, but the Choral Union will help our students become better prepared for the future. To be the "right" kind of citizen, students must learn to be good collaborators, adapters, and learners across the disciplines. They also need to become creative visionaries, imaginative inventors that discover ideas the world didn’t know it was missing. There are few activities better than singing in a choir that develops those skills."

Membership in the Choral Union is open to Montana Tech students, faculty, administrators, staff and/or spouses, high school students and community members from the Butte region. Members of the choir should primarily be interested in the inspiration inherent in rehearsing and performing excellent choral music at a high level.

To assure that singers are placed in the right singing sections and have the basic musical background to participate in the Choral Union, individual five-minute auditions will be held on Monday, August 27, from 7- 9 pm at Tech’s Library Auditorium. These simple hearings determine a prospective member’s vocal range, tone color, and ability to sing in tune. From these auditions, singers will be assigned a specific vocal section via a list posted on the Library Auditorium doors.

The following is the Choral Union’s start-up schedule (meetings will be in the Library Auditorium at Tech):

  • Auditions: Monday, August 27 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Welcome Meeting: Monday, Sept. 3 from 7-9 p.m.
  • First Rehearsal: Monday, Sept. 10 from 7-9 p.m.
  • Details on Tech’s Music Offerings are listed below:

MUSI 101 – Enjoyment of Music (3-credit, spring semester): This course surveys the artistic and musical creations of Europe from the Greeks through the 20th Century. Students will study the evolution of artistic and musical styles in their cultural context as both European music and the visual arts responded to the same cultural influences.

MUSI 108 – Orchestra: TECH Symphony (1-credit, both semesters, Monday and Saturday): String, woodwind, brass, or percussion players who are qualified to play in the Butte Symphony can receive credit by attending rehearsals (15-16) and performing in two concerts. This provides an opportunity to play standard orchestral repertory with a community group of professional and amateur musicians.

MUSI 112 – Choral Union (1-credit, both semesters, Mondays 7-9 pm): This ensemble is designed for students to learn to sing better and develop an appreciation of choral music and its relationship to literature, history, and the other arts. The ensemble rehearses weekly to prepare for an end of the semester concert. Accepted community members may join the choir without paying tuition.

MUSI 114 – Tech Band (1-credit, under the direction of Dr. Pete Knudsen): Offers a cultural opportunity for students with band skills to continue study in music. Approximately 20 meetings are held, half of which are devoted to study and rehearsal of swinging pop music, college songs, Dixie Land pops, and marches. The remaining meetings involve performances at ball games, convocations, concerts, and parades.

MUSI 291 - Special Topics: Voice Lessons (1-credit, Mondays, 4-6 pm): Private half hour lessons explore the vocal sounds mechanism, breathing apparatus and resonating system in an effort to teach students to produce vocal sound in the most efficient manner. (Limit 4 students)

For more information about the Choral Union or Voice Lessons, please contact Dr. Gary Funk by calling 406-529-1379 or emailing