History of The Ball State University Singers

Learn more about the Ball State University Singers from the 1960’s through the early 2000’s.

1960's | The Beginning

1964 – In November, the Music faculty voted to establish a popular vocal ensemble named in recognition of the elevation of Ball State to university status. Ball State University Singers begin rehearsals under founding director Don Neuen.

1965 – In January, the first performance in Indianapolis meets critical acclaim. University Singers perform for the legislative ceremony in Emens Auditorium.

1966 – First Spectacular held in Emens Auditorium. Attendance: 7,212. Raised $7,000 for the School of Music Scholarship Fund.

1967 – Graduate Student Jack Trussel replaces Don Neuen as an acting director.

1968 – Larry Boye begins seventeen-year career as Director. First of a series of summer State Fair performances.

1970's | National Recognition & Tours

1970 – University Singers hosts the first in a continuing series of official Parents Day Variety Shows.

1971 – Indiana General Assembly proclaims University Singers to be “Indiana’s Official Goodwill Ambassadors.” Entertained National Governors Conference in French Lick.

1972 – Dedication show for the Indianapolis Convention Center. USO tours to military bases in the southern United States and first tour abroad to Iceland, Greenland, Labrador, and Newfoundland.

1973 – Shows in Washington D.C. for inauguration of President Nixon.

1974 – Performance schedule tops 140 shows in a single season. National Governors Convention in Dallas. Shows in Spokane, Washington for EXPO ’74.

1975 – Tenth Anniversary Spectacular expands to record-breaking three SRO performances. In Emens auditorium this achievement is shared only with comedian Red Skelton and Broadway musical CATS.

1976 – First experiments with state-of-the-art clic track accompaniment recordings. Patriotic bicentennial Spectacular features guest star William Warfield.

1977 – Shows in Washington D.C. for inauguration of President Carter. Spectacular goes “on-the-road” to South Bend.

1978 – Bob Hope Collegiate Talent Search names University Singers the Nation’s Number One Collegiate Entertainment Group. Spectacular cancelled due to national energy crisis. Concert tour to Latvia, Poland, and U.S.S.R.

1980's | New Era & Touring Abroad

1980 – Spectacular features Dancing Waters on the Emens stage. Concert tour to Romania, Greece, and Cyprus.

1982 – Midwest Tour: 107 shows in 61 cities, including World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. Second concert tour to U.S.S.R., Romania, and Bulgaria.

1983 – Guest Performance for Indiana Music Educators Convention.

1984 – Second Midwest Tour: 120 shows in 10 weeks. Featured artists with Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

1985 – Fritz Mountford named Director. Command performance for the Indiana Society of Chicago with the Smothers Brothers.

1987 – General Assembly again names University Singers Goodwill Ambassadors. Concert tour to London, England.

1988 – Pacers National Anthem with Nancy Reagan at Market Square Arena. Rob Lawrence named Acting Director. Film America Sings! and Hal Leonard educational video tapes.

1989 – Rob Lawrence serves as Acting Director. Year-long Production Center renovations due to School of Music fire. Spring Break tour to New Orleans.

1990's | The Future Looks Bright

1990 – University Singers celebrate a Quarter-Century of Musical​ Magic with a twenty-fifth anniversary Spectacular in Emens Auditorium. University Singers named Honors Show Choir by a panel of Broadway and Hollywood professionals at the Collegiate Showcase Invitational in Chicago.

1991 – Christmas Show with Pat Boone and Florence Henderson.

1992 – Hoosier Holidays TV special and cassette raise $57,000 for Indiana’s homeless. Concert tour to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.

1993 – Guest Artists with Muncie Symphony Orchestra. Benefit performance to restore historic Paramount Theatre in Anderson. Christmas show with Judy Collins. Series of shows at Walt Disney World in Florida.

1994 – University Singers celebrate Thirty Spectacular Seasons with over 200 current and former cast members onstage in Emens Auditorium. PSI Energy “Powerful Performances” to benefit local Arts Councils.

1995 – Concert tour to The Netherlands, Belgium, and France. Spectacular goes on the road to Pendleton to benefit the Chris Coyle Memorial Scholarship fund.

1996 – Entertained Ball State Alumni Family Night in the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Ball Memorial Hospital Festival of Trees and Lights benefit performance. Shipboard shows on Spring Break Bahamas cruise. Guest artists with Muncie Symphony Orchestra and former cast member Jack Trussel.

1997 – Opening ceremonies of World Championship Triathlon. Series of Florida-area Alumni receptions with President Worthen. Hosted University Relations Ball State Fellows Banquet. Introduced “Cool Clothes for Kids” campus-wide clothing drive. Public television broadcast of Spectacular’97.

1999 – Graduate Assistant Michael Davis was named Acting Director.​

2000's | A Return to Process

2000 – Jeffrey Richard Carter named new Director of University Singers to lead into the new millennium.

2001 – Performances include the Indiana Special Olympics opening ceremonies and by invitation at the White House for a Christmas program. Joined forces with Indiana Public Radio and Muncie Center for the Arts for special projects.

2002 – Growing presence in Indiana as major philanthropic groups call on University Singers for performance. Relationship with Habitat for Humanity established. Holiday show performance with Kenny Rogers.

2004 – Performances at Indiana Music Educators Association annual convention, and at the divisional American Choral Directors Convention

2005 – Performance tour to the People’s Republic of China, with performances in five cities

2006 – Spectacular returns to two performance nights

2007 – Performed the National Anthem for the closing ceremonies of MTV’s “Armed and Famous” at City Hall

2008 – University Singers serve as host and headlining choir at the Fame Show Choir Competition in Branson, Missouri. Alan Alder is named Director. Arranged and recorded “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in several styles for a special broadcast celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the song for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Guest artists with the Muncie Symphony.

2009 – The first annual Fall Concert is scheduled in Sursa Hall.

2010's | Here & Now

2010 – A greater effort in advertising and publicity pays off in the form of the largest number of tickets sold on two consecutive nights of Spectacular 46.

2011 – The University Singers perform at the ICDA All-State Choral Conference before more than 600 high school students – that year, the number of students who auditioned for the group was nearly triple of what it had been in past years. The University Singers performed at the FAME Aspire Awards Ceremony, where many of show choir’s most well-known personalities were honored. The audience contained many of the nation’s most noted educators, conductors, choreographers, and performers. The University Singers produce and perform a holiday Madrigal Dinner – the first one seen on the Ball State campus in over 30 years.

2012 – The University Singers are invited to compete in the 2012 World Choir Games, hosted by Interkultur, to be held in Cincinnati, OH, and are named the World’s Number One Collegiate Entertainment Ensemble. Dr. Alder and the cast give a show choir history and technique demonstration lecture at the ACDA Choral Symposium at the World Choir Games. Interkultur invites the 49th Cast to be the American Choral Ambassadors at the first-ever Xinghai Prize International Choral Championships in Guangzhou, China. The group receives a Platinum rating and brings its unique brand of entertainment to thousands of oversea audience members.

2013 – The 50th Cast participates in Interkultur’s “Sing ‘n’ Joy” International Choral Competition in Louisville, KY over Thanksgiving weekend.