Contact Choral Society Board

e-Mail the Board at: chorsocy@msu.edu

MSU Choral Society has lost a longtime friend

Dr. M Cecil Mackey, 16th MSU President and president emeritus had a long and impressive list of professional accomplishments and personal pursuits. Prominent on that list of service to his country, to public service, and to higher education is music aficionado—which dates from his childhood.


Clare S. Mackey Endowed Fund in Voice awards

Dr. Mackey and his wife Clare established this endowed fund as a way to support the vocal arts and make a difference in the lives of students. Dr. Mackey named the fund in honor of his wife Clare—a musician, music educator, and singer. 

Dr. James Forger, Dean College of Music with Clare and Cecil Mackey
Dr. James Forger, Dean College of Music with Clare and Cecil Mackey      


The Mackey endowment has made it possible to not only attract top-notch students, but to provide funding that is competitive with that of our peer institutions,” says Professor of Music Dr. David Rayl, director of choral programs and associate dean for graduate studies and research. 


The ability to recruit and retain voice talent at the MSU College of Music keeps getting stronger thanks to their generous endowment that allows students to base their decisions on the quality of a program rather than their personal finances. The endowment story may be seen by clicking on Mackey Endowment.


Cecil served alongside his wife Clare—longtime and current singer with the MSU Choral Union—on the National Leadership Council of the Michigan State University College of Music.


We will remember Dr. Mackey as an avid runner and tennis player, an ardent music lover, and an enthusiastic Michigan State sports fan. He was a lifelong learner and educator who inspired and encouraged others to capitalize on the extraordinary opportunities the world presents.


Cecil and Clare have been long standing members of The MSU Choral Society


For Dr. Mackey’s memorial information and biographic synopsis,please click here or go to




Choral Union 2018 Spring Session Information Announced 


Rehearsals held Wednesdays, 7-9 p.m. 

Performance date--  Saturday April 28, 2018 of

Mendelssohn's Elijah with the MSU Symphony At Wharton Center for the Performing Arts

Choral Union is directed by Dr. David Rayl

Choral Union meets in Communication Arts and Sciences Building (Room 147) on campus

Semester Tuition: $52 per semester for adults --  $30 for high school and college students; financial assistance is available

For on-line Registration and further information click here

Call for Spring 2018 Auditions for New Members

 January 10 and January 17, 2018

6:00-7:00 p.m.

MSU Communication Arts and Sciences Building

For details please see Excerpt from Choral Union Press release December 2017 for Auditions below

MSU Choral Union to Hold Auditions -- EAST LANSING, Mich.


The Michigan State University Choral Union will hold interviews/auditions for its upcoming season on Wed., January 10 and 17, at 6 p.m. Auditionees should meet outside of Room 147 of the MSU Communication Arts and Sciences Building, which is at the southeast corner of Red Cedar and Wilson on the MSU campus. The first rehearsal will also be Wed., January 10, so those auditioning should be prepared to stay for rehearsal that evening and on January 17. 

Auditionees should be prepared to vocalize and sing the first verse of The Star Spangled Banner. Previous choral singing experience is desirable, but not required. No appointment is necessary but auditionees are asked to arrive at 6 p.m. for a general information session. Private individual auditions will follow immediately. 

The ensemble will perform Mendelssohn’s epic oratorio Elijah with the MSU Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, April 28.

David Rayl, director of choral programs at MSU, conducts the Choral Union. “It offers the opportunity to sing the greatest choral masterpieces of the past 300 years with a first-class orchestra on the stage of the Wharton Center. It’s an unforgettable experience,” says Rayl. “Members of the Choral Union come with a wide variety of musical experiences and abilities. The unifying element is their common love of choral-orchestral singing.” 

The ensemble rehearses on Wednesday evenings, 7-9 p.m. 

Members pay a $52 per semester registration fee ($40 for high school or college students) and pay for their own musical scores (approximately $20 per semester). 

For additional information, please contact  musgrad@msu.edu or at (517) 353-9122. 

The Community Music School East Lansing office can be reached at (517) 355-7661 for more information. 


Leaving a Legacy for the Art of Singing

Kay Toben’s love of singing leads long-time member of MSU Choral Union to establish endowment.

Kay Toben poses with David Rayl, professor of music and director of choral programs at MSU

Kay Toben poses with David Rayl, professor of music and director of choral programs at MSU.

The Kay M. Toben Choral Society Endowed Fellowship in Choral Conducting will provide fellowship support for deserving and talented graduate students in choral conducting at MSU.

Her endowment complements the support she has provided the Choral Union for decades. Her goal, she says, is to help the College perpetuate choral excellence through scholarships that attract and retain gifted students.

“There’s a lot of competition out there for talented students,” Kay observes. “This is a way to get some of your best people to come to MSU for their master’s or doctoral studies.”

Director of Choral Programs David Rayl agrees. He reflected on how Kay’s passion for singing and choral music has also influenced the tone and direction for the MSU Choral Union. 

“In the years to come, Kay Toben’s endowment will be an important source of funding for graduate conducting students and will help MSU continue to attract some of the brightest young talents in American choral music,” says Rayl associate dean for graduate studies in music. “Kay has been a committed and faithful member of the MSU Choral Union for many years and has made outstanding contributions as a Choral Society board member. We are grateful that her passion for choral singing and her experiences here at MSU have influenced her to set up this endowment.”

For the complete story on Kay’s gift please follow her story on the MSU College of Music's site: (click)  


        All Choral Society members are invited! 

This very special event—  an international selection of wine, food, and song, benefits the MSU Choral Society. Interesting wines from around the world, presented by MSU College of Music professor Jonathan Reed (a sommelier in an earlier life), are match to delicious hors d’oeuvres representative of that world region and further matched with indigenous songs and arias sung by students in the College of Music’s choral program.

This select private event will be held around the pool and in the garden at the home of Dr. David Rayl at

 4537 Hawthorne Lane, Okemos, MI 48864. And there’s plenty of parking on this quiet street.

Space requires that this exclusive fundraiser be limited to the first 50 people who respond for each of two dates. 

And you have a choice of dates 

The Friday:     September 8th event runs from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. 

Sunday:         September 10th running from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. 

The first wine serving and formal program begins 15 minutes after the announced start time. Both events will be held rain or shine!

This is a private fundraising event and the suggested donation of $100 per person is 100% tax-deductible as a gift to the MSU Choral Society. All proceeds will benefit MSU graduate students in choral conducting.

To join in the fun please RSVP by clicking on the link found in your invitation email to 
select your preferred date and number of places you’d like to reserve. Then send your check payable to MSU Choral Society to:

Lorie Barbieri
5505 Star Flower Drive
Haslett, MI  48840


517 282-5463


The Board welcomes Choral Union Singers for Spring Semester with traditional treats and conversation between rehearsal sessions


Parting comments ran from “just great” to “fantastic” with smiles all around. By every measure the fall fund was a great success. Thanks to generous donations from Choral Society Board members and a certain “anonymous” donor, 100% of all donations went directly to our benefits fund. The fund has provided financial assistance to MSU graduate students in choral conducting since 1987.

The Choral Society wine tasting party blends wine tasting with a taste of excellent food and great song—all matched to wine making regions across the globe. Together multiple sets of wine, food, and song created a virtual tour to California, crossed the Atlantic to France, Spain and Italy, then moved south to Argentina, to finally return us home to Michigan at journey’s end. For the full story click here.

The Michigan State University Choral SOCIETY is the nonprofit auxiliary that supports the University's Choral Music Program. It is separate and distinct from the Choral UNION vocal ensemble. For information about current Choral Society events, please click here.

Read more about the Choral Society >>

Many members of the Choral Society sing with the MSU Choral Union and many members of the Choral Union belong to the Choral Society. Despite the overlap, they are two separate organizations.

Read more about Choral Union >>


Mozart Requiem Reviewed

Lansing City Pulse's Lawrence Cosentino reviews November 9, 2013 performance with the Lansing Symphony.

...Saturday’s grand, oracular, throbbing, inflammable reading of Mozart’s Requiem...

click here to read full review