Coker to Expand Music Offerings in 2012

For more information
, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – December 7, 2011 – Beginning in fall 2012, Coker College Music will offer four new or expanded ensembles, which will be available to both music majors and non-music majors:  a men’s ensemble, a college-community chorale, a gospel choir and a wind ensemble.

“The new ensembles will provide our students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the local community, fresh and exciting opportunities to pursue their interests in choral and, now, instrumental music,” said Coker College Associate Professor of Music William Carswell.

While each new group represents an important addition to Coker’s suite of co-curricular programs, Carswell, who also serves as Coker’s music program coordinator, notes that the addition of a co-curricular instrumental ensemble, in particular, represents the next step in implementing a growth strategy for Coker’s music program.

“This expansion provides new, exciting opportunities, especially for Coker students, and symbolizes the College’s commitment to growth in both size and musical offerings over the next five years,” he said.

“Many students come to Coker after having played in their high school band program,” Carswell explained.  “The Coker Wind Ensemble will offer them a challenging yet fun way to continue their interest in music while building another excellent ensemble to represent the College and showcase the varied talents of our students.”

The wind ensemble will be open to all Coker students, faculty, staff as well as students from the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics.

The Men’s Ensemble will also be a first for Coker College.  The chorus will be comprised of men from all majors across the campus performing popular, classical, and 21st century contemporary choral works.

“All-male choirs have a long-standing tradition in the U.S.  There is nothing quite like the sound of a chorus of tenors and basses, and it is time the College develop such a choir,” Carswell said.

The Coker-Hartsville Chorale will be a campus/community ensemble devoted to performing larger choral works, often with instrumental accompaniment.  Carswell anticipates this new ensemble will be popular among those on the campus and in the Hartsville community who enjoy singing but don’t have a lot of time in their schedules.  A once-a-week rehearsal will bring together students, faculty, staff and community singers for rewarding musical experiences that will enhance the cultural life of the city.

Carswell says the Gospel Choir, which has been a student-led ensemble for several years, will be expanded and will become a regular feature at concerts both on and off campus.

“We are excited about the growth potential of this ensemble.  Coker has many students who, we believe, would enjoy and benefit from singing in a choir that specializes in the rich musical tradition of spirituals and gospel music,” Carswell said.

Through the Department of Dance Music and Theater, which has been identified as a growth center in the College’s recently approved five-year strategic plan, Coker offers a major in music with concentrations in voice, piano and musical theater as well as music education. Coker also offers a major in theater with concentrations in performance or technical theater, and a major in dance with concentrations in performance/ choreography and movement analysis/therapies.

As an institution with 50 programs of study, 14 NCAA Division II programs (with two more slated to begin by 2013), and more than 30 student organizations, Coker takes enormous pride in its ability to offer personalized learning, where students can customize their own education through double majors or self-designed majors, studying abroad, completing internships and becoming involved in campus life.

For information about the new music ensembles, contact Carswell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For information about admission to Coker College, visit

PHOTO:  Coker College Associate Professor of Music William Carswell.


Established in 1908, Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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