Statesmen Choir opens doors to all majors


Statesmen choir

Cj Eilers

Statesmen is Iowa State University’s only male choir, made of 134 members from such diverse majors such as engineering to vocal music.

The choir meets on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week at 1:10 p.m. to rehearse. Although a male choir has existed in the past, either as a choir or glee club, the current incarnation was organized by director Dr. James Rodde in 2000 when he joined the ISU staff and restructured the choir program into what it is today.

Much like other groups across the country, Statesmen sings classic male composition pieces. However, the choir branches out to perform brand new pieces, including Renaissance, Baroque, Barber shop and folk, as well as ISU school songs.

“I think there is a unique camaraderie amongst a group of guys, where they feel a certain sense of freedom to be themselves,” said Rodde. “There is a unique sound when male voices sing together, based mainly on their vocal registers and timbres.”

The singers are divided into four parts: Tenor 1, Tenor 2, Bass 1 (Baritone) and Bass 2. Students may switch parts if they find they are uncomfortable with their part’s range.

Unlike the Iowa State Singers, Statesmen is without section leaders, due to the lack of many sectional rehearsals and concentration on the group itself. Statesmen has a student board with a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer as well, but in addition has an alumni chair, apparel chair and publicity chair.

“Having people from different majors, different backgrounds makes a different sound,” said Joe Leon, the board president and four year member of the choir. Leon, one of the only music majors in the group, encourages people for all majors to remain in choir during college saying, “give it a chance, anyone can do it.”

In the spring of 2006, the choir was invited to the Intercollegiate Mens Chorus National Seminar in O’Clair, Wisconsin to perform. Going to this seminar helped the chorus in many ways.

“They grew as a choir through their performance, and also in being able to observe the other excellent choirs in attendance,” said Rodde. “They worked hard, and the pride they felt in themselves strengthened.”

During the fall semester, Statesmen will be involved in a variety of concerts and festivals. Collage of Choirs, featuring all four concert choirs at Iowa State, will be Oct. 14 in Stephens Auditorium at 4 p.m. and is the choir’s first concert. Two weeks after, the Statesmen will have a stand alone concert in the Music Hall at 11:30 a.m. Joining with the other choirs again is the ISU Choral Holiday Festival Dec. 2 in Stephens Auditorium at 4:00 p.m.

After returning for the spring semester, Statesmen will be singing with the high school honor choir in February. Next, a second Statesmen- only concert in Music Hall, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. The choir will round it out on April 28 at the Iowa State University Choral Masterworks Concert at 3 p.m.

To learn more about Statesmen, go to ttp:// or check out their Facebook page at