Two years ago, Letícia Grützmann started a choir mostly made up of friends, having no idea it would later evolve into a semi-professional choir.
Grützmann came to WVU from Brazil to study choral conducting. She is currently a graduate assistant teaching women’s choir at WVU and created her choir in order to receive her Doctor of Musical Arts degree.
“I first created the choir to serve as my recital choir because, as a DMA student, I need to perform several recitals, and they need to be all arranged by myself,” Grützmann said. “That was my first purpose to create that choir, so I just invited some friends and some good singers that I knew.”
It was not long before a group of good singers advanced into more.
“People just really got into it, and they wanted to become a choir with their own identity, instead of ‘Letícia’s choir,’” Grützmann said.
The choir is now known as Vox Principalis, which translates from Latin to “principal voice.” Grützmann said the group decided on this name to signify the importance of human voices coming together to sing as a choir.
Grützmann’s choir has grown from its original 14 members to 24, not including the professional orchestra accompaniment.
Of those 24, seven are undergraduate students at WVU, four of which are from the music department, three are graduate students at WVU, one of which is from the music department, two are alumni from WVU’s music department and the others have a relationship with WVU and are involved with music.
According to Grützmann, the arrangements picked for the choir are as diverse as the choir itself.
“We have been singing several kinds of repertoires,” she said. “We try to have a big spectrum, like the first concert we sang renaissance, our second concert was all 20th century music, the third concert we sang baroque music and now we are singing classical music.”
Grützmann said the group tries to do one major concert each semester, with each one including major works.
This semester, Vox Principalis will hold a concert at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Wesley United Methodist Church. The admission fee is $10 for the general public and $5 for WVU students.
The choir will be performing works by Mozart, and the concert will give the public a chance to hear music they might not be able to find unless they go to a larger city, Grützmann said.
“I think Morgantown is a very small town, and it is not very common other than being at WVU and watching the WVU choir or orchestra to have other opportunities,” she said. “It is very rare that we have the chance to hear major works in this town just because of the amount of choirs that we have here.”
In the future, Grützmann would like to find a sponsor to help further the success of the choir.
By starting her own semi-professional choir, Grützmann hopes it will spark the beginnings of other music groups in the area.
“This is just a seed I am planting, literally, because I am seeing what I want for myself, but I hope that it will engage future generations to this level of commitment and this high quality of music,” she said.