WWU Students Join Voices with Callaway Singers

Eight William Woods University students will join the Callaway Singers Thursday (May 7) at 7 p.m. in Dulany Auditorium for a spring concert consisting of 1930s and 1940s blues and jazz selections.


Callaway Singers is a 50-voice community choir that works as a fund-raising group for the Callaway Arts Council. It is a non-audition soprano, alto, tenor, bass (SATB) choir, and consists of singers from Callaway County.


According to Marlene Railton, adjunct music instructor at WWU and Callaway Singers director, the group usually performs two concerts a year.


“In the fall, we invite Callaway County high schools to perform a joint Christmas concert with us.  In the spring, we have a fund-raising dinner/concert with the Callaway Community Band, directed by Lisle Moore,” she said.


Performing with Callaway Singers gives WWU students an opportunity for a choral experience with the community choir. Railton feels that there are many benefits to this arrangement.


“The enrolled students gain two music credits from WWU and get to sing with an SATB choir.  They also meet community adults, which affords them the chance to get involved in a community effort.”


Natalie Goodman of St. Louis, Mo., Brittany Bailey of Monrovia, Ind., Kathleen Coffin of St. Charles, Mo., Ashley Metz of Fulton, Kendall Simcoe of Fulton, Abrina Tainter of Lisle, Ill., Olivia Ma of San Diego, Calif., and Hannah Jay of Fort Smith, Ark., are all taking advantage of the arrangement.


The concert on May 7 will serve as the students’ final exam for their music class, and it will take place on campus so their friends and family can come to hear them sing.


Railton feels that combining the two groups has had positive effects on both the students and the community choir.


“The WWU students gain a mature musical experience from singing with the Callaway Singers.  Sometimes the Jameson Singers class is made up of all women; this community choir provides SATB choral depth.  In addition, the students are afforded a larger scale of music selections, get to meet community adults, and are provided an opportunity to perform at community functions,” said Railton.


“The WWU singers add another dimension to the Callaway singers, and we feel very fortunate to be able to incorporate their voices into the group, as well as their enthusiasm and youthfulness.”


While participating students will receive two credits of music for their contribution, the credits were not the primary motivation for students like Goodman, who is involved in the choir for the third semester.  


“I joined the group because I love singing, and have been in choir since I was in kindergarten,” she said. “I was excited that I could be in the choir and also get credit for it. I enjoy singing in the group because it makes me happy to know that others are getting joy from what we are doing. Singing makes me happy as well; it releases stress for me, and the people I sing with are all friendly and welcoming.”


She added, “Since I have been in the Callaway Singers, my vocal performance has actually improved. Marlene is an outstanding choir director and she always makes sure we all know our notes and if we don’t, she will work with us until we get them. I plan to sing with the Callaway Singers until I graduate, which is two more years.”  


The concert is free and open to the public. Donations to the Callaway Arts Council will be accepted at the door. For more information about the concert, contact Marlene Railton at (573) 592-4581 or marlene.railton@williamwoods.edu.