Millikin University Choral Program
A tradition of choral excellence has long been a part of Millikin’s history. With more than 250 singers, the choral program now includes four traditional choirs led by a nationally recognized staff of conductors. Music majors and non-majors alike count their choral involvement as among the most profound experiences of their Millikin years. In addition to individual performance calendars, the choirs perform together for large-scale choral/orchestral works and for Vespers at Millikin, the largest single event on Millikin’s campus drawing 6,500 people annually. Recordings of the choirs may be purchased through First Step Records, Millikin’s student-run recording label.
The flagship of the Millikin choral fleet, The University Choir has gained national recognition due in part to seven invitations to perform at national and regional conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). In addition to annual two-week tours across the United States, the choir tours internationally during alternating summers. The choir has recorded seven CDs available from First Step Records or iTunes.
The Collegiate Chorale is an upper-class select mixed ensemble exploring all forms of choral music from five centuries of standard repertoire. The choir tours annually throughout the region.
The 40-voice Millikin Men perform a broad variety of repertoire. Whether before a crowd of 70,000 for the national anthem at a Chicago Bears game, before an audience of conductors at the IL-MEA Conference or in front of an audience of high school choristers at the annual Millikin Vocal Festival, the Millikin Men are a favorite wherever they perform.
Millikin Women has a long-standing tradition of excellence at Millikin. The choir is a select group of 80 singers which frequently receives special invitations for performances state-wide and tours in the spring. Annually they host the Millikin Women’s Choir Festival, which draws high school women’s choirs from throughout the state.
Vespers at Millikin
Millikin University welcomes the holiday season with the annual Vespers celebration, held the first Saturday and Sunday of each December at Kirkland Fine Arts Center. For over fifty years, Vespers (which means “evening prayers”) has signaled the beginning of the holiday season with a sumptuous evening of carols, choirs and candlelight. Over 300 musicians join together for this joyous musical feast presented annually on Millikin’s campus. Songs from past centuries combined with familiar carols and arrangements create an evening of seasonal warmth for the whole family.
Vespers is one of Millikin’s most popular events, and has become a beloved tradition on campus and within the Decatur community. Past recordings of Vespers can be purchased from First Step Records.