Top Ten List


Iowa State University – A National Leader in Choral Music


The Top 10 reasons why Iowa State choirs are your best choice:

1.  National Accolades

The Iowa State choirs have been greeted with cheers and standing ovations at all of their ACDA National Conference appearances.  Our choirs have sung at six of the last eight ACDA National Conferences – a national record of achievement that is unmatched.

  • 2005 – Iowa State Singers (Los Angeles)
  • 2009 – Iowa State Singers (Oklahoma City)
  • 2013 – Cantamus (Dallas)
  • 2015 – Iowa State Singers (Salt Lake City)
  • 2017 – Cantamus (Minneapolis)
  • 2019 – Iowa State Singers (Kansas City)


2.  What people are saying…

“A world-class choir.”  

-Eric Whitacre, composer, California


“Fantastic!  Wonderful repertoire.  Everyone sings with such passion.”   

-Dale Warland, Dale Warland Singers, Minneapolis


“One of the best concerts I have heard in years.  Your performance at the recent ACDA National in Salt Lake City was extraordinary!”  

-Brad Ellingboe, University of New Mexico


3.  Incredible performance opportunities

Distinguished regional and national music conferences.

National venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Salt Lake Tabernacle, Orchestra Hall (Minneapolis and Chicago).

International tours to Sweden, Estonia & Latvia (2022), Norway (2018), Italy (2015), Korea (2011), China (2006), Baltics (2003).


4.  Training in conducting

Students gain expertise in choral conducting and repertoire.  Music major Shelby VanNordstrand (pictured with James Rodde, Director of ISU Choral Activities) won first place at the 2005 ACDA National Conducting Competition for Undergraduate Students, competing in Los Angeles with student conductors from major universities across the country.


5.  Voice instruction

Iowa State’s voice faculty are internationally acclaimed performers and highly experienced teachers. Healthful, expressive vocal production is always a standard at ISU.

All voice students receive instruction from caring, nurturing voice professors including Simon Estes, world-renowned bass-baritone, and ISU’s F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Artist in Residence (pictured below).


6.  Solo performances

All ISU choir members, regardless of their year in school or major field of study, enjoy opportunities to sing solos with orchestra in oratorio, opera, and musical productions.

Based on the training and experience they received at ISU, our alumni regularly perform as soloists on the world’s opera, concert, and musical stages, from Broadway to Berlin, Branson to Barcelona.


7.  Financial support

Iowa State is strongly committed to the arts and humanities as evidenced by the one million-dollar Moen-Hamilton Chair in Music, held by Dr. James Rodde, and earmarked specifically for choral activities.  Through this and other funding, ISU choristers enjoy exceptional performance opportunities every year.


8.  The campus

Iowa State is annually honored as having one of the most beautiful university campuses in North America. ISU offers big school opportunities, yet a nurturing, small-school atmosphere in the Department of Music and Theatre.


9.  Campus-wide diversity

Nearly 400 students annually participate in the four major ISU choirs:  Iowa State Singers, Cantamus, Statesmen, and Lyrica. Approximately 85% of the singers are not music majors, but rather come from all corners of the campus, sharing one common interest – a love of singing.  Be it a large or small ensemble, the choirs at ISU make you feel like you are part of a close-knit family.


10.  Our students

ISU students develop life-long friendships singing in the choirs…

“Being involved in Iowa State Singers has been the highlight of college for me.  As a non-music major, I have had the opportunity to create beautiful music, go amazing places, and make wonderful friends.”

- Elizabeth Dahlstrom, Nutritional Science

“Many of my fondest memories and best friendships from the past four years at Iowa State have resulted directly from my involvement in the choral program.”

- Tom Stroman, Physics

“I auditioned for Singers without knowing what I was getting into.  It has honestly turned out to be one of the greatest experiences I have had.”

- Eric Swanson, Civil Engineering

“Singing in the choir is always the highlight of my day.”

- Jessica Maves, Political Science

“I had no idea what it would be like… but joining choir was one of the best decisions I made in college.”

- Ben Dankle, Microbiology



Contact:    Dr. James Rodde,, (515) 294-0395

Dr. Jennifer Rodgers,, (515) 294-7447