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Voices from the University

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During rehearsals PHOTO: Manuel Castells
09/10/13 12:21 Carmen Camey

In the back of the classroom Magna of Central Building , the members of the Choir of the University of Navarra meet every Monday and Wednesday, from eight to nine o'clock and average in the evening. "Music, like language and religion are the dawn of humanity," says its director Ekhi Ocaña.

There are many new faces and great expectations to see what this new course will bring. The Choir has increased its membership. There are forty people, mostly students, although there are also alumni and the occasional undercover teacher. Almost fifty percent are new students. "This is a great effort for everyone: both for the new ones, who have to learn everything, and for the veterans, who have to adapt to the new voices," he says.

Ocaña is his director since 2005. He has a lot of experience, both in musical and human direction. His work is to make the singers get to know each other on a human level, but above all on a musical level: "The goal is to get the voices to sound good together, to match. We also have to get used to each other: I to them and they to my way of conducting. I try not to get too involved in the human aspect, I let them relate to each other, I try to stay out of it", comments director. He recognizes thatevery year is different because people change. "The students are graduating and almost always have to start from scratch. However, it is also this element of constant renewal that keeps the Choir alive."

They remain hidden most of the year, rehearsing constantly although for the rest of the campus they are silent. It is not until the Novena of the Immaculate Conception or the concerts held throughout the year that the Choir breaks this silence. And attention turns to them.

Ekhi Ocaña comments that although he tries to renew the repertoire every year, many times people approach him to ask him to sing the songs they already know and like, so they end up giving in to the requests of the public. However, he assures that classical music is different every year.

Many of the members of the Choir have musical knowledge, they have studied at the Conservatory and this seems to them a good way to maintain the musical activity and make it compatible with their university programs of study . However, having musical programs of study is not a prerequisite. Many students join without any notions of solfège, but they integrate very well. Some even go so far as to learn it there. Sofia is a fourth-year student at advertising and has been part of the group since the second year of degree program. "In it I have not only met many new people, but I have also learned to read a score, to interpret and feel the works, but above all to enjoy them," she says.

There are many activities at the University, but for those who are lucky enough to be part of the Choir it is not just another event in their weekly diary : it is the opportunity to disconnect from all the stresses of the week, to rest and enjoy the company of new people, doing something that unites them. "I don't know what it is about music that gives you life, it gives you university life," comments the director. Within the University, along with Cantautores and the OrchestraThe University, together with Cantautores Cantautores and the Orchestra, broadens the range of musical offerings. Both for those who wish to participate actively, and for those who prefer to enjoy as listeners.

In final, the Choir can be an opportunity to grow humanly and to enhance musical talent. Music has always accompanied human beings, and it is all the more reason why it should also accompany them in the university adventure. Music brings life to people and brings life to the University.