Friday Songs

Women Raising Voices WPI Women’s Choir Songs for a Friday Afternoon • WPI choral music director John Delorey cites research that’s shown that choral music — which came from the Ancient Greeks — is a time-honored, creative activity. Virtually every culture has a history of chorus, he says. “Though it may seem like a frivolous pastime, choral singing really adds an extra level of complexity to song and has health benefits, as well,” he says.
April 03, 2014

“I am fascinated with research coming out that shows choral singing heightens immune responses and helps with sleeping—and even cholesterol levels. Anyone can have a beautiful voice,” he says, “but we come together.”


On Saturday, April 5, at 5 pm, at Alden Memorial, the women’s choral groups Alden Voices and the Technichords will showcase “Songs for a Friday Afternoon” by the late English composer Benjamin Britten, and “Jazz Radio,” arranged by Delorey. The show is free and open to public and is suitable for any age audience.

Senior Eileen Wrabel, a biochemistry major, has been a part of one choir or another since she was in fourth grade. Since she started at WPI, she has been involved with Alden Voices, the all-female choir, and the Festival Chorus, a mixed group. She’s now Alden Voices’ president and an officer of WPI’s a cappella group The Audiophiles.

“Finding WPI with its incredible academics, renowned programs, and a fabulous humanities department was hitting the jackpot for me,” Wrabel saays. “It was important when I was searching for colleges that I be able to continue my love for the arts in some sort of capacity.”

Wrabel echoes the sentiment reflected in the research Delorey cites, showing that “singing together as a group generates good vibes, for sure.” Rehearsals aren’t like work, she says.

“I use rehearsals and concerts and social gatherings as a time to sit back and stop worrying about that exam tomorrow or that paper that is due at midnight. It lets me breathe,” she says. “And without that outlet, I probably would have gone insane long ago.”

Alden Voices, the women’s chorus, began in 1978. Delorey says it’s the oldest women’s choir in a U.S. technical school. Like many of WPI’s music programs, the group travels to and performs in places like Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and even closer to home at Mechanics Hall, Tuckerman Hall, or Worcester Art Museum.

The travel, says Wrabel, is another part of what made her choral experience at WPI so enriching. “I was able to travel to Europe for the first time and sing in some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen,” she says.


The Technichords, who will also perform at the April 5 concert, is a subset of Alden Voices. The “no-fella a cappella” group, founded in 2007, is relatively new compared with the legacy of Alden Voices. It’s a smaller group of up to 13 women, and hosts an annual show.

Whether it’s the Technichords, Alden Voices, or any of WPI’s other choral groups, Delorey says, members can expect a foundation of support, whether they are seasoned choral members like Wrabel, or if they are just coming into the musical fold for the first time.

“There can be a lot of music to learn,” Delorey says, “they support each other.”

Wrabel agrees. “I have made lifelong friendships,” she says. “Students who join this program, can expect to be surrounded by others who have the same passions and creativity.”



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