“The faculty union at Rider University is protesting after Westminster Choir College’s teaching staff received layoff notices warning that the college may close if it cannot be sold.”
Hola a todos. (Sigh) It’s a sign of the times, unfortunately, at least in the dumbed-down, stupid-is-in US.
Despite its choral name, Westminster Choir College (WCC) is a renowned residential Conservatory of Music on the campus of Ryder University in Princeton, New Jersey offering undergraduate and graduate level degrees for musical careers in music education, performance (voice, piano, organ), pedagogy, music theory and composition, conducting, sacred music, and arts management.
WCC is unique from other conservatories and university schools of music in that all of their students receive vocal training from Westminster Choir College’s large Voice Faculty. I read that WCC has the largest voice faculty in the world. In other conservatories or university schools of music, only the voice majors or voice minors receive vocal training.
WCC has long had an unstable financial situation. At one point in the past, Yale University, The Curtis Institute of Music, and The Juilliard School had an interest in buying Westminster Choir College.
Since the 1990s, WCC has been part of Ryder University in Princeton. Ryder University now wants to sell Westminster Choir College. Sell it? One account I read said that if WCC cannot be sold, then it will have to be closed. They have found one questionable international buyer in Asia who comes without any experience in managing a school of higher education. (Red alert!) Not a good sign. The Westminster Choir College faculty who have already received layoff notices don’t like the idea of the school being sold to and owned by someone outside the SHITHOLE US, which is becoming more and more common these days. And they’re concerned the deal with fall through leaving no guarantees whatsoever for the school or its faculty.
In one of the articles I’m linking to there are multiple references to the closing of Westminster Choir College. If the sale deal goes through — which doesn’t sound likely at this time — according to another article I read it said that WCC will be run as a non-profit, and when separated from Ryder University, Westminster Choir College will lose its accreditation. Oh that’s lovely. Because without accreditation, one officially has little credibility. At which point I would think their students would begin leaving Westminster Choir College and apply at another conservatory or school of music at a university.
“Financial analysts have noted the uncertainty surrounding the Westminster sale. Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday dropped the outlook on Rider’s debt from stable to negative in part because of questions about the timeline of the Westminster sale and its impact on enrollment and financial performance.”
“If the campus is sold to developer who wants to build 200 townhouses, that is going to provoke litigation,” he said. “If it is sold to a private day school to operate a secondary school, that will provoke litigation. If it is closed and moved to another location, that will provoke litigation,” he said.” Link.
The Westminster Symphonic Choir has the following upcoming scheduled performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra, with one at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan. But by the state of things as of this writing, The Philadelphia Orchestra may have to find another Symphony Chorus quickly to fill in for the Westminster Symphonic Choir:
MACHOVER: Philadelphia Voices (premiere)
The Westminster Symphonic Choir, Joe Miller, Chorus Director
The Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
April 5-7, 2018
Verizon Hall, The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia
April 10, 2018
Carnegie Hall, New York
Is the Choral Arts Society of Washington available or the University of Maryland Concert Choir to fill in for the WCC? Although I would suspect that The Philadelphia Orchestra would likely invite a local choral ensemble such as maybe the New York Choral Artists, which is the Chorus of the New York Philharmonic. Are they (NY Choral Artists) still around? According to their website they have no performances scheduled for the 2017-18 season or is that just an oversight on their website?
It won’t surprise me if Westminster Choir College closes, but that will be very sad to see happen, even unconscionable, and hopefully it won’t, but at the rate things are going. That’s almost the same as hearing that The Juilliard School is closing. Or Oberlin Conservatory, Peabody Conservatory or Shenandoah Conservatory are closing, which I suppose could happen too — anything seems possible in these loco/crazy times — but won’t close anytime soon, hopefully. Chau.—el barrio rosa
Westminster Choir College Faculty Frustrated Over Lack Of Sale Details
Professors held a “teach in” on Monday, according to the Princeton Packet.