Chorale performing


The Montclair State University choral program has been recognized for its successful collaborations with numerous world-renowned artists and celebrated professional musicians in national and international venues. The Cali School is home to several choirs including the MSU Chorale, MSU Singers, Vocal Accord and Prima Voce. Under the direction of Dr. Heather J. Buchanan, these choirs offer early professional experience in regular collaborations with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. MSU choirs also perform internationally and regularly in distinguished venues in NYC and New Jersey.

Montclair State University Chorale

The Montclair State University Chorale is the core mixed-voice choir of the Cali School. Currently numbering 165 voices, the singers comprise music students majoring in voice performance, music education, instrumental performance, music therapy, composition, as well as non-music majors from other colleges in the University. The somatically based choral pedagogy is designed to enable students to expand and refine their musical, vocal and choral skills, enabling them to function as independent, flexible and responsive musicians in their subsequent student and professional lives. The Montclair State University Chorale specializes in performance of symphonic masterworks. They have performed numerous times with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) under the baton of both Neeme Järve and Jacques LaCombe. NJSO masterwork highlights include Howard Shore’s Academy Award winning The Lord of the Rings Symphony, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 and Verdi’s epic Messa da Requiem twice – under the baton of Neeme Järvi (January 2010) and Jacques Lacombe (April 2014).  The Chorale’s highly acclaimed performances of Orff’s Carmina Burana and the Verdi Requiem with Maestro Jacques Lacombe were celebrated with limited edition CD releases in September 2011 and December 2015. Their performances have included collaborations with the Newark Boys Chorus, Children’s Chorus of Sussex County and the American Boy Choir. Other concert highlights include Saint Nicolas (Britten), Fauré Requiem, Chichester Psalms (Bernstein), the regional premiere of Parables (Aldridge) in collaboration with the Montclair State University Symphony Orchestra, Annelies (Whitbourn) and Alzheimer’s Stories (Cohen) for the 2015 Beatrice Crawford Memorial Concert.

Note: Non-Majors also welcome to audition for MSU Chorale.  contact:

University Singers

The Montclair State University Singers is a mixed-voice elective choir comprising undergraduate and graduate students who are experienced singers and musicians. Students from all schools/colleges in the University in good academic standing may audition. The University Singers performs a wide variety of sacred and secular repertoire, encompassing genres from the Renaissance to the 21st Century, with special interest in contemporary composers. Previous season highlights include New York Choral Festival Showcase Concerts performances at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall, Prelude Concert performances for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s annual Winter Festivals, and tours of Central Europe and Russia with performances in Prague, Budapest, Bratislava, Debrecen, Moscow, Pushkin and St. Petersburg. World Premiere performances include Madison’s Descent (Mícheál ÓSúílleabháin), That Music Always Round Me (Tarik O’Regan), Ave MariaA White Blossom, and She Walks in Beauty (Martin A. Sedek), and the 2012 Raymond Brock Memorial Commission Distance can’t keep us two apart by Chen Yi. The University Singers has also established an exciting performance relationship with renowned composer-artist Meredith Monk beginning with their historic collaboration in December 2006 and continuing with the critically acclaimed March 2009 performances of Ascension Variations at the Guggenheim Museum. They recorded the CD Songs of Ascension with Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble on the prestigious European label ECM Records under the legendary producer Manfred Eicher, released May 2011. This collaboration was included in the Producer of the Year section of the 2012 Grammy nominations. Recent season highlights include their ACDA Eastern Division Convention debut performance in Providence, RI, performing Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Messiah with the NJSO under the baton of Maestro Jacques Lacombe, a Mid-Atlantic tour of the USA in May 2013, and collaborating with the esteemed American composer Morten Lauridsen on his Nocturnes during his November 2013 Montclair State University residency. In December 2015 they returned to the NJSO for two performances of Handel’s Messiah in Maestro Lacombe’s final season.

Note: Non-Majors also welcome to audition for University Singers.

Montclair State University Singers – April 23, 2015: John the Revelator

Vocal Accord

Montclair State University Vocal Accord is a 24-voice chamber choir comprising students drawn from the membership of University Singers. An extracurricular project choir, Vocal Accord made its debut performance in the Cali School’s Leshowitz Recital Hall in 2010. In 2012, Vocal Accord toured Europe giving performances in Austria (Vienna, Gleisdorf, Graz, & Ottendorf) and Italy (Venice), and were also artists-in-residence at the University of the Performing Arts (Graz). Vocal Accord performs repertoire ranging from traditional and classical works to new works by professional composers and student winners of the Cali Choral Composition Competition. They perform on campus and at venues throughout the tri-state area, including Carnegie Hall’s Weill Auditorium. In 2014 Vocal Accord sang Rejoice in the Lamb while dancers from the Richard Alston Dance Company performed at the 10th anniversary gala for Montclair State’s Kasser Theater. This performance led to the opportunity to perform in 2015 in London for the Alston dance company’s 20th season at Sadler’s Wells.

The Choral Program offers the most dynamic, comprehensive, and nurturing choral ensemble experiences. MSU choirs have given me the opportunity to travel the world, learn countless masterworks, and perform music at an extremely high level. There is something for everyone: with ensembles ranging in size from 175 voices to 24 voices, performing repertoire timeless and contemporary. Dr. Buchanan creates an environment where students are continually challenged to grow. We learn to be dynamic musicians, seasoned professionals, and exemplary human beings.

—Sarah Peszka,
Vocal Music Education Major, Class of 2020


Mini-Documentary:  Behind the Masks: Choral Singing in the COVID Pandemic at Montclair State

Production Team:  Skylar Seitzman, Will Albrecht, Radha Martinez

The following web links/information will give you access to the depth and breadth of our offerings at the Cali School of Music and the Choral Program in particular. 

Web Links

1. MSU Choral Activities Padlet – Introduction to the program + performance highlights

2. University Singers Padlet – Explore the landscape of our flagship choir + meet some students

3. Cali School of Music – Choral Landing Page

4. Cali School of Music – MSU Choirs (in “About Us for Ensembles”)

5. Masterful Musings: Inspirational Conversations in the Cali Choral Community

  • You are welcome to join us for our second virtual masterclass season of Masterful Musings where we will feature 7 guests from 1 – 2:15 pm on Feb 16, 18, 23, 25, March 2, 4 & 9. 
  • Information, including the unique Zoom ID for each guest, is located on the MSU/Cali website in the events/calendar section and on the Masterful Musings page here

Social Media


FB: Montclair State Choral Activities
IG: @MontclairStateChoral 


FB: Cali School Of Music
IG: @CaliSchoolOfMusic Montclair State 


YouTube Videos: here

The following performances are highly recommended as examples of our performances during the Fall 2020 Semester: 

Recently in the News 2020

Reopening New Jersey: Music students turn parking deck into rehearsal space  ABC7 NYC  

Hallelujah! Music students have choir practice in parking garage The Today Show 

Musical Reunion  CBS Nightly News 

MSU music students rehearse in parking deck to ensure pandemic safety News 12 NJ

How N.J. college is conducting in-person instruction. NJ.COM

Contact us: 973.655.7610   Heather Buchanan: