Sing at Brock!

Brock Choral Ensembles 2020-2021

Open by audition to all students, faculty, staff & members of the Niagara community.

For the 2020-2021 academic year, choir will be fully online until guidelines allow for other forms of gathering.

This year, choir will be less about final performance outcomes and more about the process of learning, connecting, exploring and innovating as key elements of ensemble participation. Singers will engage with a diverse body of choral repertoire in sessions on vocal technique & choral skill development, explorations of movement & stage presence, analysis of music & text, workshops with guest artists, and collaborations through innovative singing projects. Rehearsal and performance skills will be developed in the context of a supportive community that promotes cross-cultural understanding and self-expression.

Previous singing experience and ability to read music is required.

CONTACT Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff at

FACEBOOK Brock University Choral Activities

  • It is important to understand we will not attempt to do what we normally do, but through this, we can LEARN about the value of live musical interactions in their absence.
  • This is a unique opportunity to get to know and learn from one another in new ways. Your active ENGAGEMENT with this online choir course will be vital.
  • We have an OPPORTUNITY to focus on the many things for which we rarely have time, such as building vocal technique and choral listening skills, analyzing the relationships between music & text and reflecting on the historical and cultural contexts of our repertoire.
  • In the absence of live interactions, our work will emphasize PROCESS (rehearsing) more than product (performing). This is a tough transition for all of us, but this also provides a chance to strengthen performance skills and to reflect on the significance of live performance to individuals and communities.
  1. Each term we will study a major multi-movement work and a number of shorter pieces.
  2. Every week you will be provided with video demonstrations/rehearsal guides/accompaniments to aide you in learning the music on your own. A benefit of this “asynchronous” method of rehearsing will be the ability to move through the music as quickly (by fast-forwarding) or as slowly (by reviewing at your own pace) as you need.
  3. We will also meet “synchronously” at the times outlined below (via zoom or a similar virtual meeting platform). During these meetings we will sometimes break into smaller groups or sectionals.
  4. Online workshops with guest clinicians from across North America will comprise a very special component of the 2020-2021 choir season. Singers enrolled for credit will engage in reflections on each session.
  5. Participation in choir will include regular submissions of audio/visual recordings (in solo and small group formats) so that progress and feedback can be provided. Singing without the support of the choir will be challenging and scary, but together we will overcome this obstacle and be better for it!
  6. We will pursue several Virtual Choir Projects throughout the year, including a possible collaboration with the Instrumental Ensembles.

Choir will include virtual meetings/rehearsals as follows:

Music 1P88 (Treble Choir SSAA) Thursdays 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Music 1P89 (Mixed Choir SATB) Mondays & Wednesdays 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Singers are also required to commit to personal practice and online singing projects as developed and assigned throughout the year. Small group rehearsals may also be scheduled as needed.

Brock music majors can register for choir now, but please know that your assignment in choir is not guaranteed until you pass an audition (details below). Returning students must also re-audition.
Non-music students will be granted permission to register for the course following a successful audition. Please note that non-music students are NOT required to take choir for credit.

  • Video recording device such as a phone, iPad or video camera
  • Computer
  • Internet access
  • Headphones
  • (TBD: We will explore the use of various Apps to aid in our musical collaborations)

New and returning singers can sign up HERE for your Choir Audition/Hearing.

The Audition/Hearing will include:

  • Sight-singing of two short melodies
  • Clapping a rhythmic excerpt
  • Sing-backs of several melodies played for you

PRIOR to your Audition, you are asked to do the following:

  • Prepare a Recording and submit it with your Choir Information Form (see below) at least 6 hours prior to your scheduled hearing. For this recording (audio or video file, your choice), please sing along with this accompaniment carefully follow these instructions:
  • Sing The Ash Grove along with the accompaniment. When you record yourself, please wear headphones so that the accompaniment cannot be heard in the recording. I suggest plugging the headphones into your computer to hear the accompaniment and recording yourself singing with a phone device. Please state your name at the beginning of the recording.
  • Sing along with the range exercises that follow(using the same procedure—headphones on). When the range gets too high or too low, stop singing and wait for the next exercise.

             I recommend singing along a few times before making your recording.

  • Complete this online Choir Information Form 6 hours prior to your scheduled hearing. Note that your recording is submitted with this form.

Special Events




Hosted by Rachel Rensink-Hoff

FREE REGISTRATION opens September 20, 2020. Email

Leanne Vida | September 23, 2:30 pm – Breathing 101 for Singers

Robert Filion | October 5, 2:30 pm – Sing French with Confidence

Charles Bruffy | October 21, 2:30 pm – It Matters!

Lori Anne Dolloff | October 26, 12:30 pm – Cultural Humility in Intercultural Collaborations

Danielle Wilson | October 28, 2:30 pm – Voice Work from the Actor’s Perspective

Karen Burke | November 2, 2:30 pm – Gospel Techniques & Performance Practices

Laura Loewen | November 9, 2:30 pm – My Love Affair with Diction

Robert Cooper | November 11, 2:30 pm. – The WHY of Choral Singing

Nicholle Andrews | November 19, 7:00 pm – Bodymapping for the Choral Singer

Pearl Shangkuan | November 23, 2:30 pm – Tips for Smart Singing

Mark Sirett | November 30, 2:30 pm – Composer as Conductor

Summer Choral Workshop in Niagara

The Summer Workshop is postponed to 2021.

SOUND & STYLE – Deepening connection through resonance
REHEARSAL PROCESS – Building relationship through shared artistry
CONDUCTING TECHNIQUE – Cultivating trust through gesture

Join conductor Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff for a choral workshop for teachers and conductors of all levels of experience from August 27-29, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

With guest clinicians
Robert Filion, The Teen Choral Singer
Victoria Meredith, A Voice for Life: Working Skillfully with Adult Choirs

Includes repertoire packet, daily lunch & refreshments.
Bursaries available upon special request.

Masterclass conductors $350
Regular attendees $300
Full-time university students$150

Visit the Facebook event page

Choral ensembles are an integral part of the Brock University Music program.

Avanti Chamber Singers,
Choir in Residence

Open by audition to adult community members.
Rehearsals Tuesday evenings, 7:30 to 9:45 p.m.

Chamber Choir

Open by audition to all Brock students, faculty and staff. Credit options available to students.

Rehearsals Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3 to 4:20 p.m.

Women’s Choir

Open by audition to all Brock students, faculty, staff and community members.
Credit options available for students.

Rehearsals Thursday evenings, 6 to 8:45 p.m.

Rachel Rensink-Hoff, Conductor

Recent Events


A Special Walker Cultural Leader Event!

Director of the Kansas City Chorale and Chorus Master of the Kansas City Symphony, Charles Bruffy is a distinguished choral conductor, pedagogue and clinician. It will be our privilege to have him conduct masterclasses with our choirs during the week of November 26-30, 2019. He will also be visiting a few local school and community ensembles throughout the week. His visit is generously supported by the Walker Cultural Leaders Fund, the Centre for Pedagogical Innovation and the Humanities Research Institute.

for more information

Summer Choral Workshop in Niagara

Join conductor Dr. Rachel Rensink-Hoff for a choral workshop for teachers and conductors of all levels of experience on August 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Registration $60 (Students $30)
fee includes lunch
August 20, 12 pm

Building an engaged
and resonant sound.
Inspiring community
through shared artistry.
with meaningful gestures.

Click here to register
Visit the Facebook event page
View the event poster
View the event schedule