Choral Activities


You don't have to be a music major to have a voice at Iowa State University.

The ISU choral program is nationally recognized for its excellence. Our singers enjoy continuing a time-honored tradition: more than a century of singing at Iowa State.

The four major choral ensembles and other chamber groups at ISU provide opportunities for participation at all levels of interest and expertise. Membership in one of the choirs can give you the opportunity to grow and develop as a musician, to make new friends and to be part of one of Iowa State's most exciting and popular student activities.

Each year nearly 400 students take part in choral activities at Iowa State. Participants represent nearly all academic disciplines and majors. Eighty percent of the singers are majoring in areas other than music, and virtually all are undergraduates. All choir members enjoy the opportunity to sing in the 2700-seat C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, recently recognized as Iowa's Building of the Century.

Please see our Top Ten list:

Iowa State Singers

The Iowa State Singers are Iowa State's most select choral ensemble and is made up of the University's finest singers. Music of all styles is performed with an emphasis on the great a cappella works. Performances include the Fall and Spring Concerts, the December Holiday Concert, and the Masterworks Concert where selected choir members get opportunities to sing as solo artists with orchestra. The Singers also annually stage a full-scale Madrigal Dinner, complete with the costumes and pageantry of Merrie Olde England. In addition, the ensemble tours each year. Concerts have been given throughout North America as well as in England, Poland, Russia, Australia, Scandinavia, the Baltic States, China, and Korea. The group has also been honored with performances at national conventions of the ACDA (2005, 2009) and NCCO (2008, 2011).

Iowa Statesmen

The Iowa Statesmen, the University's popular ensemble of about 130 men's voices, specializes in the performance of traditional and contemporary male chorus literature. The ensemble gives various performances during the year and enjoys playing an active role in the Iowa State community. The Statesmen annually join the three other choirs to present both the Holiday Concert and the Masterworks Concert, each with orchestra.


Cantamus, ISU's premiere women's choir of 70 select voices, is a nationally recognized ensemble that requires a high proficiency level in musical skills. The choir presents six concerts per season, which includes a tour and a choral-orchestral Masterworks Concert.


Lyrica, our popular women's choir of about 100 voices, provides an opportunity for many women who wish to continue their high school singing with a less demanding concert schedule. Annual traditions include participation in the Collage of Choirs, Holiday, and Masterworks Concerts in Stephens Auditorium.

Small Ensembles

A branch of the choral program includes the a cappella men's group, Shy of a Dozen, which sings contemporary popular music at various university and regional functions. In addition, its female counterpart, Count Me In, sings for campus events. Concurrent participation in one of the large ensembles is required for membership in either of these groups.

Count Me In Sound Samples

White Winter Hymnal

Wrecking Ball

Love Me Like You Do

Fight Song

Masterworks Concert

Additional Vocal Opportunities at Iowa State

Currently over ninety students study voice with five artist faculty members including world-renowned artist in residence, Simon Estes. While a majority of these students are voice majors, Iowa State takes pride in its ability to offer professional quality voice instruction to non-music majors as well. In addition to participation in choral ensembles, vocal activities run the gamut from solo recitals to opera and musical theatre productions.

The choir members at Iowa State have enjoyed remarkable opportunities to perform with some of the finest orchestras in the world including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony, the Leningrad Philharmonic, the London Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and others.


Scholarships are available for talented students who plan to major in music. Auditions for scholarships are generally held in mid February, with other times arranged as necessary. For scholarship information and applications, call the Music Office (515-294-3831) or e-mail, or write:

Scholarship Committee Chair
Department of Music
Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.


All interested students, whether new or returning, audition for choirs annually. It is always to the student's benefit to sing a prepared solo in an audition for a select choir.  Although this is encouraged, it is certainly not required.  The audition process is brief and stress-free, and may include some sight-reading and tonal memory exercises.  Final auditions occur in late August, during the three days prior to classes beginning in the fall (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday).  Sign-up sheets, with 7-minute time slots, will be posted in the Music Hall, room 130.

Students should register for the choir of their choice and then go through the audition process in late August. Students will be placed in the appropriate choir during the first week of classes. If a student wishes advice as to which choir is most appropriate, the conductors will be happy to offer recommendations.

All incoming students interested in singing in an ISU choir are encouraged to meet the conductors during Summer Orientation on Day 1. Dr. James and Kathleen Rodde will be available 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Music Hall, room 111. Although it is not necessary, students are strongly encouraged to have a brief pre-audition during this time.

Students who miss meeting the conductors should simply register for the choir of their choice and go through the audition process in August.

Iowa State Singers (MTWRF) 12:10-1:00 p.m. Music 161

Cantamus Women's Choir (MWF) 11:00-11:50 a.m. Music 151A

Statesmen Men's Choir (MWF) 1:10-2:00 p.m. Music 151B

Lyrica Women's Choir (MW) 2:10-3:00 p.m. Music 141

Contact Us

James Rodde - Iowa State Singers & Statesmen
(515) 294-0395.

Kathleen Rodde - Cantamus & Lyrica
(515) 294-7447.