The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Discovering the Dallas Symphony Chorus


On a recent Monday evening, a collection of people from all across North Texas gathered in a practice room in the basement of the Meyerson Symphony Center. Some dressed as if they came straight from work, in full suits and button down shirts, and some as if they just rolled off the couch in shorts and a hockey jersey. Chatter filled the practice room. Then, at 7:30, the noise stopped, and the director took his podium. He raised his baton, and the walls shook as this collection of everyday people began to sing the haunting notes of Mozart’s Requiem.

Established in 1977, the Dallas Symphony Chorus is an organization of 185 volunteers that serve as the official vocal ensemble for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Members have devoted their time, effort, and skill to performances with the DSO and with other orchestras around the world. They would be performing the Mozart piece at the East Dallas Christian Church in a few days.

“We are made up of people from varying backgrounds, from different social, religious, and political divisions, and that’s the beauty of this thing, for them to come together, experience each other, and create something,” said DSC director Joshua Habermann. “That’s pretty cool.”

Habermann became the chorus’ sixth permanent director in 2011. During his time, one of his favorite moments came as the chorus performed Benjamin Britton’s War Requiem for the American Choral Director’s Association in a packed Meyerson Symphony Center. He is also preparing the chorus for trips to Spain and France in June to perform with other orchestras around the world.

However, Habermann finds satisfaction in something other than the performances.

“Rehearsals are the most rewarding. Of course, the concerts are incredible, but I love the process. Creating a piece, to have these hundred plus people come together every Monday night and create a community based on the common ground of music, that’s the most rewarding part,” he said.

The chorus comes together to rehearse most Monday nights, and they hold practice every night during concert weeks. During the performances, the men wear tuxedos with black ties, and the women wear long, black, sleeved dresses with pearl necklaces.

Chorus rehearsals every week give members the opportunity to get to know one another, and make friendships that will last a lifetime. Tim Mohel, DSC president, joined the chorus in 1993, and talked about these relationships.

“I’ve had two guys sing next to me for most of my 21 years here. I know their families and they know mine,” Mohel said. “Even with past members, people move on, but they’re still friendships you keep forever. On top of that, you constantly meet new people, as well.”

During the day, Mohel is a marketing manager at Verizon, but he has been singing classical music in choirs since he was 10 years old. He learned about the DSC by hearing an advertisement on the radio, he called in for an audition, and has been a member ever since. Over the years, he has developed high expectations, not only for his performance, but for everyone’s.

The DSC “is a volunteer organization expected to perform at a professional level,” Mohel said. “We are a professional chorus that volunteers their time, we have to perform up to the level of the orchestras we play with.”

Chorus singers must audition and re-audition regularly, either annually or in some cases every two years. Auditions are usually held in May or June of each year. For more information on auditions, visit

Recent SMU grad Kaylan Sikkel took her music major and became an elementary school music teacher for Rockwall ISD. She found out about the DSC through family friends, as well as other music teachers.

“I like to challenge myself by singing a higher repertoire of music, “ Sikkel said, “This is a great way to keep my voice in shape, as well as have the opportunity to sing alongside the symphony on stage.”

It is up to Habermann as a director to bring all of the voices from around North Texas together to step up to them. He does so by paying attention to every detail in every rehearsal, and dropping in tidbits of his musical knowledge wherever he sees fit.

“Any symphonic choir worth it’s salt can bring thunder. It’s those who can sing beautifully quietly, that’s interesting,” he said.

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