The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle

The student news site of Hamline University.

The Oracle


A Star Still Shines: A Cappella Choir’s first concert with conductor Dr. Wanyama

Amid finals, Hamline University’s A Cappella Choir shines as a beacon of warmth and peace. 

  This article was previously published in print on Dec. 05, 2023.  

The air was filled with anticipation as the quiet audience waited for the concert to begin. Not a seat on the historic pews was empty, and as the Hamline University A Cappella Choir (HUAC) walked out and onto the stage, the music began. 

The Hamline University A Cappella Choir — one of the many organizations students can join on campus ­­­— stands as a widely recognized symbol of both Hamline’s music department, and Hamline University as a whole. 

According to their page on the Hamline University music website, HUAC has quite a few achievements to be proud of. 

Story continues below advertisement

“Hamline’s A Cappella Choir has toured nationally and internationally and performed on recordings, radio and television. Our singers have premiered works of several renowned composers and received acclaim for their dynamic interpretations of choral masterworks. … Our choir has received accolades from critics around the world wherever we travel.” the website reads. 

But one aspect of HUAC was different for the first time in 44 years: the music director. 

After working at Hamline University for 44 years, music professor Dr. George Chu retired, effective the beginning of the 2023 fall semester. This year, a new director has already established her ground and credibility through her work with Hamline students. 

Dr. Shekela Wanyama, a conductor and educator from Minneapolis, can be found not only on the Hamline campus, but at the University of Minnesota and Unity Church-Unitarian, where she serves on the music staff. 

Despite anxiety from students about a new director, Wanyama cemented a positive relationship with her students. 

“I was scared before the new year started. I was coming into a new role, and I really didn’t know what was going to be expected of the board, or what the change would look like. But after meeting with Dr Wanyama for the first time, I knew that she would mesh just right with us.” Sydney Lavelle, fundraising chair of HUAC, said. 

With the choir’s relationship with Wanyama in full bloom, students in HUAC could enjoy and appreciate the music as much as the audience. 

“Snowy Day is my favorite [song]. I think it was our best piece. We picked it up really, really quickly, so we were able to add the musicality to it…With our other pieces, I don’t think we were able to do so much because we were focused on getting the rhythm and notes right.” Maria Garcia, a member of the choir, said. 

The evening closed with a beautiful rendition of Silent Night, where even the audience was encouraged to sing along. 

To learn more about HUAC, how to join and when future performances take place, visit 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Oracle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *