Chiaroscuro was founded by Susan Matych-Hager in February 2013. Thirteen male singers, many of whom had previously sung under Matych-Hager’s direction, presented their first concert in collaboration with Carillon Women’s Chorale, an Ypsilanti based community choir directed by Karen Nevins in May of 2013.
Since that time, the chorus has increased its membership. We represent many walks of life and a wide range of ages. If you love music and want to be part of this dynamic and exciting group of men, we encourage you to join us at an open rehearsal.
The name Chiaroscuro is an Italian term that literally means light and dark. It is used in music to describe a vocal technique that results in balanced resonance, characterized by both carrying power and richness of sound. The men of Chiaroscuro seek to sing with this stunningly beautiful quality of sound.
Susan Matych-Hager, Founder and Artistic Director of Chiaroscuro: A Community Men’s Chorus, is Professor Emerita of Music (retired), Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan, holding degrees from Siena Heights College (now University) and Indiana University where she studied conducting with Allen Ross and Don V. Moses and voice pedagogy with D. Ralph Appelman. She has taught all levels of music from kindergarten through university age, directing church, community, school and university choirs for over 50 years. She chaired the music department at Siena Heights University for 34 years.
While at Siena Heights University she was a recipient of the Eileen K. Rice Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2010 she received the prestigious Maynard Klein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Choral Excellence and Leadership from the American Choral Directors Association Michigan Chapter (ACDA-MI).
She currently serves as the Repertory and Standards Chair for Men’s Choirs for ACDA-MI. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Chorus America and the Intercollegiate Male Choruses. She continues to teach a select number of private voice students and occasionally serves as a choral clinician. In addition to directing Chiaroscuro, she is an award-winning nationally known glass artist and jewelry designer.
Alan Ballenberger, accompanist, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Siena Heights College (now University) where he has served as accompanist and rehearsal assistant for over thirty years. Alan also serves as organist and choir director for a local church in Tecumseh, Michigan.
Laurie Cunningham, accompanist, holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal music education and has been teaching K-12 general and vocal music for about thirty years. She currently teaches music in the Adrian Public Schools. Laurie’s master’s work is primarily in piano, however, and she accompanies numerous soloists, ensembles, choirs, and musicals.