Choral Union Presents “Selah” at Pangle Hall

Today at 7:30, Choral Union will be performing “Selah,” which will explore choral music used in worship across time and place. Performers will engage with music from both ancient and modern Anglican tradition, 19th century German Protestantism, contemporary American Protestantism, Catholicism, the African American spiritual tradition, African folk song, and American shape-note singing. 

The concert will be directed by Joshua Cheney, an assistant professor of choral music at Lee in charge of not only Choral Union but also Men’s Choir as well.

This event is not ticketed and free to the public. For more information click here.

Faculty Spotlight October 2019

Kristen Holritz is our first Faculty Spotlight of the month! Mrs. Holritz is the flute instructor here at Lee University. We had the opportunity to ask her some questions, which are listed below.

Q: How long have you been working at Lee?

Holritz: I have been teaching flute at Lee University since the fall of 2014 – so this is my fifth year!

Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching at Lee?

Holritz: There are so many great things about Lee. The campus is beautiful, there is always plenty of parking (even if it is far away), the performance halls have great acoustics, my colleagues in the School of Music are always friendly and so helpful – but I’d have to say my favorite thing about teaching at Lee is the students. The flute studio only has positive attitudes and shows up every week eager to learn. What more can a teacher ask for?

Q: How long have you been with the Chattanooga Symphony?

Holritz: This is my sixth season with the CSO.

Q: What is it like to be involved with both the Symphony and Lee?

Holritz: Some weeks the schedule is pretty full, but I enjoy teaching and playing equally. I feel very blessed to be able to do both in Chattanooga!

Q: What is it like having a husband that is musical as well?

Holritz: That has its benefits and downfalls! Since we both work at the CSO it is easy to carry the stress of work home with us. However, it is great to have someone that understands the lows and highs of my craft, as well as be married to someone who speaks and understands the language of my soul. We are very encouraging of each other and often practice together, play for each other, and perform together outside of the Symphony. We learn from each other’s playing and teaching as well!

Q: What is it like playing together?

Holritz: Some days we both need our space to be by ourselves but most of the time we love it! The flute and violin have some opposite tendencies for bad habits but a lot of concepts are the same. We perform as the duo, Schaafritz, and perform frequently across the country! When preparing for concerts we enjoy talking about the correlations between our instruments and learning how to blend, articulate, and simply play more like each other. Even more fun than playing music together is listening to music together. Like I said – our souls speak the same language!

Q: What would you recommend to someone that is thinking about auditioning for the School of Music?

Holritz: I’d recommend having weekly private lessons leading up to the audition. A good private teacher can help you improve your playing, guide in proper audition repertoire selection, prepare you to have a successful audition both mentally and physically, and help you understand what a degree in music entails. I’d also recommend visiting the campus and meeting the faculty and students in the studio you are interested in – and coming prepared with questions you might have. Do research and be inquisitive! The more a student is prepared and invested before arriving, the more they will get out of their experience in the long run!

We are so thankful to have Mrs. Holritz with us!

School of Music Alumni Follows Composition Dream

Nora Swindle, class of 2018, was accepted by the Seattle Film Institute to begin her masters in Film Scoring. During her time at Lee, Nora was involved with the Composers Forum, and the Ladies of Lee. She also composed a piece which the Lee University Chorale performed in 2018. We had the chance to ask Nora about her new degree, and what inspired her to choose this career path.

Q: What made you decide to pursue this degree?

Nora: Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted to compose music for video games. My master’s degree is just one of many steps I feel I need to take to give myself the best shot of pursuing my dream.

Q: What do you want to get out of this experience?

Nora: Mostly I’m interested in really diving in deep to all the various DAWs, notation softwares, and film composition techniques to learn as much as I can! Seattle’s also a very good place to make connections with independent game and film developers. Microsoft’s hub is here, so Xbox is pretty big around here!

Q: What was the application process like?

Nora: The application was pretty easy! I applied to six schools, and SFI was the easiest application process. The decision is largely made based on your compositions, and it’s good to have a variety! Most places want 3-5 compositions.

Q: How did composing at Lee help you prepare?

Nora: Honestly just having the freedom to write under encouraging professors helped me figure out my sound and gave me a good base of musical vocabulary. Composing music is not much different than writing an essay. You practice and get better at refining your ideas, and expressing new ideas.

Q: How did your Lee experience help in general?

Nora: Lee helped me by really locking in all the fundamentals until they became second nature. It added a lot of tools to my toolbox, and helped me apply the things I learned to my future compositions. It also really just helped me become a better person? It taught me patience, perseverance, camaraderie, and a lot more virtues that just generally helped me grow into someone that I never could’ve imagined becoming before college.

Q: Do you have any plans after graduating?


My director has an internship program with lots of previous alumni down in Hollywood, but there’s also a lot of work in Seattle. The dream is to join a team of composers on an independent video game, and hopefully they’ll like me enough to give me a longer term contract. But honestly, just being a part of a storytelling process and being able to enhance that from what I’ve learned is a valuable experience in itself. I’ll be happy as long as I get to keep creating new music.

Congrats, Nora! We can’t wait to see what all you accomplish.

Lee University Performing Arts Series: Conor McDonald

Don’t miss the first Performing Arts Series concert of the 2019-2020 school year featuring our very own Dr. ChoEun Lee!

Baritone Conor McDonald has been praised for his “standout performance… whose robust voice filled the hall with a clear, glimmery richness” (Schmopera). He most recently performed the roles of Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore with Anchorage Opera, the Marquis in La Traviata with Atlanta Opera, and Merlin in Gluck’s L’île de Merlin with Wolf Trap Opera.

Mr. McDonald will be giving a free Masterclass on Thursday, October 3rd at 4:00pm. The concert will take place Friday, October 4th at 7:30pm. Both events will take place in Squires Recital Hall at Lee University.

As an added incentive, students currently enrolled in Performance Seminar will receive double credit for attending this event.

Lee Faculty Trio Tours in China

Pianist Cahill Smith, cellist Theodore Kartal, and violinist Xiaoqing Yu toured throughout China this summer, as well as making stops through France and Korea. Besides performing for a large number of audiences, the trio also taught masterclasses to students along the way. Here are some of the photos that they took!

The Lee Faculty Trio will be performing on campus October 1st at 7:30 in Squires Recital Hall. We can’t wait to see you all there!