University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus



Vocal music arrives on the USF St. Petersburg campus

University Singers

Students in University Singers, a vocal ensemble performing repertoire, practice a song by The Drifters during a class session.

By Matthew Cimitile, University Communications and Marketing

As part of its ongoing expansion of arts programming across the bay, the USF College of The Arts is offering a choral class as part of its Community Music Project in St. Petersburg this semester. 

University Singers is a vocal ensemble performing repertoire open to USF St. Petersburg campus students and community members. Participants will learn to sing together in a full chorus as well as have opportunities to perform solo and smaller group pieces, including original music of their own. 

“I’d like to think that for many people, music makes the world make sense,” said Allyssa Jones, director of Vocal Ensembles at USF. “University Singers will provide an experience for vocalists of any skill level, where I’ll pick a couple of pieces based on where students are and they bring songs that we arrange together.”

The class kicked off at the start of the spring semester and will conclude with a semester-end concert on April 18 followed by an open house karaoke party on April 25. In between, participants will learn to read and perform choral music while creating their own arrangements that reflect musical and cultural interests. 

The addition of music offerings comes on the heel of the expansion of other art programming on the St. Petersburg campus. In the fall of 2021, the College of the Arts began offering several courses focused on the arts industry and architecture. These courses highlight the role the arts play as an economic engine and allow students to collaborate with practitioners on developing proposals for urban design solutions.

Around the same time, Harbor Hall, the home of the Graphic Arts program, opened the doors to its new renovation, with greater gallery and studio spaces and an aesthetically modern environment for students to showcase their work and visitors to appreciate their creative endeavors. 

Discussions are also underway to develop a concentration in animation at the St. Petersburg campus. The animation curriculum would engage students in the development of both 2D and 3D animation as well as the production of virtual 3D objects for fine art, film, games and visualization. 

“The arts are of huge interest to the St. Petersburg community and the city puts a large part of its ethos and brand behind the arts,” said Chris Garvin, dean of the USF College of The Arts. “St. Petersburg is fertile ground and a great place for us to expand the type of art education and programming that we have.”

It was in fact the interest of one USF St. Petersburg student, who came up to Jones at a festival asking about the availability of vocal programs on the campus, that helped spur the University Singers class arriving this semester. Jones added that it is that interest and passion for music that drives her to teach community programs. 

“Community Music Project allows me to work with individuals and groups on what they love most,” said Jones, who is also teaching a community music course on the Tampa campus on the musical The Wiz. “It’s been great to work with groups to dress fit and tailor things to, and the invitation to perform is always wonderful.”

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